Sheffield City Council is aiming to save money by reducing the use of escorts on a small number of SEN transport routes.
However, a recent letter sent to all parents of children in receipt of travel assistance may have caused unnecessary alarm.
Transport officers told us that the escort review mentioned in the letter was mainly aimed at Integrated Resources (IRs). Officers have been working with IR staff to identify youngsters who would be able to travel without an escort. Escorts will only be removed following consultation with parents and subject to a thorough risk assessment.
The move could also impact on other children, as routes may need to be changed to put children who are able to travel without an escort on the same bus.
Transport Manager Simon Ebbins emphasized that there were no plans to get rid of ALL escorts or even a significant number. He pointed out that Sheffield has been using escorts almost by default on 100% of routes, whereas other local authorities have been employing them more selectively. He reassured parents that all changes would be thoroughly risk assessed, and that CCTV cameras would be installed on buses without escorts as part of the safeguarding mechanism, to protect both the driver and the young people travelling. Sheffield spends a significant share of its £5m SEN transport budget on escorts. There is a constant pressure on the budget and therefore a need to make savings.
If you have any concerns about these changes and would like to talk to someone, please call Transport Services on 0114 203 7570.
You might also want to attend our meeting about SEN Transport on Friday 17 October, 10am-12noon, at St Mary’s. Alternatively, post your views using the commenting facility at the bottom of this page, or send us a message.