Oxfordshire County Council has announced that free home to school transport to special schools for pupils aged 16 years and over with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (‘SEND’) will be retained. In North Oxfordshire, there are two special schools – Bardwell School in Bicester and Frank Wise School in Banbury – that provide excellent teaching facilities for local children.
Local Conservative County Councillors have welcomed a shift in proposed policy which has removed any current need to change existing free transport arrangements for SEND pupils.
Councillor Eddie Reeves represents the Calthorpe Division where Frank Wise School is located. He said: “I am pleased to see this provision maintained. We should be doing that all we can to help parents of SEND children and free home-to-school transport is a small but important way in which the Council can make a difference. I was very vocal in my opposition to the plans to reduce transportation services for post-16 students and spoke out about it publicly in the Council chamber. I have been very clear that I stand alongside the parents and pupils at Frank Wise.
I have worked closely on this issue, alongside my colleague Councillor Kieron Mallon (Bloxham and Easington). We will continue to fight to ensure that funds are retained in future years and that we are as good as our word when we say that we are with parents of SEND pupils. Frank Wise is one of the most well-respected schools of its kind nationally. It will always have my support.”
Councillor Michael Waine is the representative for Bicester Town where Bardwell School is located. He added: “It is right that initial proposals were reviewed. The establishment of the SEN Home to School Transport Cabinet Advisory Group, on which I was pleased to serve, helped to find alternative arrangements and showed what can be achieved by working with our partners in a positive way to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable children without putting unnecessary pressures on them and their families.”