Dear Mr and Mrs Lewis,
It was decided by [Lambeth] Council’s Cabinet on 16th of January 2012, that two key policy changes were necessary to the Authority’s Home to School travel assistance policy.
The aim of this policy is to increase independent travel for young people with statements of special education needs (SEN) to prepare them for adulthood.
We will be working to introduce the changes after the October half term 2012.
[and now just the part that applies to us]
2. Families where a motability vehicle has been provided for the benefit of the child [or the equivalent in funding - meaning, every child at May's school] will no longer be offered SEN travel assistance.
We realise that for some families this will be a difficult change. However we hope you share our ambition to enable our young people to gain greater independence and life skills.
M– D– (Not sure if I can include his name and email. If I can, I will come back and insert it for your use.)
You read that right. Lambeth Council is stopping all travel assistance for the most needy, vulnerable children in the borough, and it is doing it under the veneer of charitable ambition. In other words, it wants to save money, so Mr Donkor is brazenly lying by saying it for May’s benefit.
Three reasons why this is morally corrupt, besides that hideous lie:
1. Unless they will also be providing May with a new brain, she will never gain enough independence to travel by public transportation to her school every day. She can not sit in a seat on a bus. She would just fall over. Not to mention, she is three.
2. While other parents in the UK have to figure out a way to get their child to school (there are no school buses here), those parents have the benefit of resources such as early/late drop-off sessions at school, which May’s school – being a special school – does not provide. They can also leave their child with someone who does local primary drop-offs, but May’s school isn’t one of the common primaries, so no one will want to take May.
3. Why, if they decided this in January – eight months ago, did they only inform parents after school had ended, in August? They should have had the decency to give families more than a couple of months to figure this out. This may mean the difference between some parents working or not. It is no small thing.
I emailed a couple of people at May’s school and not one of them had been informed of this. Though I would be surprised if May’s headmistress didn’t have a severe reaction to the news. She is a fireball. I wouldn’t get in her way.
Updates to come.