A mum from Dunstable has criticised Central Bedfordshire Council over the transport issues she has faced in getting her son to school on the first day of term.
Leila Smith’s nine-year-old son goes to The Chiltern Special School, which provides learning opportunities for pupils with a range of special educational needs and disabilities. He travels to the Kingsland campus in Houghton Regis on a bus provided by Central Bedfordshire Council.
But this morning (Tuesday) there was no bus to take him to school. Fortunately Leila’s other son does not go back to nursery until tomorrow so she was able to take him in.
The mum-of-three said: “There was no bus so I took my son to school and I will be collecting him but I’m not sure what will happen tomorrow when I have to get to a nursery in Studham and his school in Houghton Regis at the same time.
“I posted on Facebook about what happened and it seems there are a lot of parents in the same situation as me.
“The school has merged the two sites, Kingsland and Beech Road, with children being split between the two depending on their needs and abilities, it is a good move and will help the children academically and socially. But this means that some children will be changing site and requiring transport to and from school.
“However this transport has not been arranged for all children and there are a number of parents still waiting to find out how their children are going to be getting to and from school.
“Some of these children have severe complex needs, including my own child, and some children are being expected to get into a taxi with a complete stranger and travel over half an hour to school despite having special needs. I was on the phone in a queue for hours on Monday, I was told someone would call me back but I have heard nothing.
“We just want some answers and want to know what is going on with our children’s transport to school.”
A spokesman for Central Bedfordshire Council said: “The council met with Chiltern School in May to discuss the site changes as this would have implications for transport eligibility for 16 pupils.
“It is our understanding that the school contacted these parents in July to tell them they needed to re-apply for transport and gave them an application form.
“All parents who have contacted us to re-apply for transport have transport in place for tomorrow (Wednesday).
“We have 16 different vehicles transporting over 150 children into Chiltern School from tomorrow. Taxis are provided where the needs of the child mean they can’t travel on a bus or there isn’t a bus route available.”