Parents slam transport shake-up forcing disabled children to ‘walk to pick-up points’

INCENSED parents have accused education bosses of wanting to make their disabled children walk to pick-up points under controversial reforms of school transport.

The children, who use wheelchairs or have profound disabilities such as Down’s syndrome, have so far been picked up from their homes in Barking and Dagenham.

Education bosses sent parents letters telling them of the changes but later failed to implement them in an apparent U-turn.

Working parents have attacked the plans, saying they could not drive their children to the meeting points and believe the proposed shake-up will endanger the youngsters by effectively forcing them to make their way to the pick-up points by themselves.

Wayne Eddy, who son David has Down’s syndrome, said: “They want our children to walk to a pick-up point. Most of the children can’t walk or can’t be trusted to walk on their own.

“The way this has been handled by the Inclusion and Special Educational Needs team is a complete farce.”

Mr Eddy, of Grosvenor Road, Dagenham, received a letter from children’s services boss Ann Jones last month informing him that his son would no longer be picked up from home and would instead be given a lift at a nearby children’s centre.

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Mr Eddy called the council and Havering College, where his son studies, but they reportedly told him they did not know about the new arrangements.

In an apparent U-turn, the council then told Mr Eddy his son would be picked up from home as normal.

Mr Eddy said: “I had a frank conversation with Ann Jones and expressed my disgust at the way that her department has communicated this process.

“The concepts they are trying to bring in don’t fit most of our children.”

A Town Hall spokeswoman said: “Barking and Dagenham Council is currently looking at introducing pick-up points for students who attend Havering College and who are eligible for assisted travel. We will be consulting with parents on this.”