Does anyone have any experience of taxi transport to secondary school? We have been offered a secondary school that can meet needs very well but is 40 mins there and 40 mins back in a cab. Trains not possible. Our son loved the idea of the taxi and we did it to look around the school but is now feeling anxious about it. So wondering whether to go for a more local school but with less SEN experience.
TAXI TRANSPORT FOR EHCP PUPILS
If the school is over 3 miles away (as the crow flies, not via roads) and is also classed as the nearest school able to meet your child's needs, then, yes, the child will qualify for a taxi.
Usually this means the school named in the EHCP - but some LAs may try to say a nearer school could meet the child's needs and it was parental choice to travel so far away.
Also, just be prepared for what may turn out to be a very long day. The children living furthest away are picked up first and often then have several stops along the way. A journey that takes me 40 minutes usually takes the taxi an hour and a half. It's a lot of extra time to add on to a school day.
We had a taxi when my daughter was at primary - the school was actually quite near but our son was at a different school (even nearer) but hers had a specialist unit attached. This was the same LEA. Although we lived the nearest to the school we were not last on the route - I think it was worked out around where the escort lived as she’d have to be picked up first. It seemed to work well although the children are obviously quite close together. We didn’t get transport for secondary as although the school was nearer than the one in our own LEA the council had just cut transport for out of borough schools. The group of parents who already had it managed to get it reinstated for them but I had to take her myself. It was clearly the best school I’d visited and I wasn’t happy with any other option so I did that for the 5 years she was there
It’s variable but if if this is the right school then taxi might be a necessary pain.
If your child is the only one with, presumably, an escort then the timing is more guaranteed. If it’s a bus with multiple pick ups then timing can vary - much will depend on the route taken, whether your child is first, last etc on the pick up list. And rush hour traffic can be an issue.
My secondary age children have/had transport to school but we’re fairly close. Then our LA changed providers so I opted for a personal transport budget so I take them.
One thing to be aware of - my LA insists on an an adult being there at pick up and drop off so if you’re working then that can make things difficult. And again my LA will only allow one pick up/drop off address
Thanks Leo. The school say we should be able to get a taxi for just him. I will go with him for sure in the first few weeks/months but also work so he may have to go on his own when more confident. That's the bit i find hardest - waving goodbye to him early in the winter when it's dark on his own. Just spoken to the nearer school and they are going out of their way to meet needs cutting out modern languages. We'll see!
Thanks Donatella and Safia
Really good to hear both stories. I don't think I can name the school till I find out if we have taxi transport as it won't work without it. The train ride is two stops and he couldn't manage that right now. The borough are apparently cutting back on SENtransport to make everyone chose local schools!
ps. I've just realised you can arrange an escort?!
They provide an escort (at least they always have to my knowledge) even if there’s only one passenger as the driver is then free to concentrate on driving and does not have to worry about potentially dealing with behaviour (like any Mum would have to lol)
Safia - that sounds brilliant. I assume most parents go with them for at least the first week?
I’ve never been in the taxi with my two - how would you get home afterwards? Normally - here - taxi and escort come to the house to do a meet and greet before starting the service.
Do bear in mind though -as you are working - that they may expect someone to be at home for pick ups and drop offs. My LA have always insisted on that
Hi Donatella - It's good to hear they do a meet and greet before service starts. I could get home by two trains in 45 mins if they run on time. I think with his attachment needs he would take time to getting used to going with a new person. But will probably be fine after a few weeks. Yes one of us can be here at the start and for drop off. We do that now anyway - juggling work!
I’ve never been in the taxi either and I don’t even remember a meet and greet I just think they turned up the first day and introduced themselves. My daughter struggled to go into school - she was 7 - and a member of staff had always come to get her but she managed on the taxi - I think she actually found it easier
My son would not get in a taxi with someone who he's never met before for a 40 minute journey. And I wouldn't be happy either. We'd have to have some meet and greet sessions for sure.
Is anyone's child doing beyond a 40 minute taxi journey?
Lots I think - specialist provision tends to cover a wide catchment area. I’ve one friend whose child travels well over an hour each way. We’re close atm but one school was close to an hour each way. It isn’t unusual
Yes we have a child at a mainstream secondary half an hour away - it is named on EHCP (parental choice as opposed to meeting specific need) - has best results in area but also the best SEN dept which was vital - we get a travel budget - I didnt fancy her going in a taxi so I take her but the petrol bill is phenomenal albeit most is covered in the payment
Thanks Donatella and Kathyrn123 - yes I know what you mean about not fancying going in the taxi - it feels strange to me too.
But if he did - I wonder what he can do in the taxi? Apart from screens? Thinking of audio stories maybe as he gets car sick sometimes.
I know I am probably over thinking the taxi thing but it seems to be a can of worms - trusting the taxi company, the escort and then the long journey on top.
Also when they're teenagers wld there be a stigma attached arriving in a cab? Or maybe we can turn it into a cool thing!
I think you should take it one step at a time. If travelling by taxi becomes problematic for him as he gets older there may be other options then. For now he seems really keen which is good - and maybe has a sense of independence for him. Don’t forget the taxi company will be vetted / DBS checked and the escort trained - and you will be able to talk to them about anything specific to your child - both now and in the future as there’ll be face to face contact with them
I can understand this might be a bit stressful for you - letting go of the reins a little with my kids has been difficult for me and a real learning curve - but if he’s comfortable now with the plans then try to be positive about it. Model positive feelings and thoughts. I can’t ever say arriving on transport has ever been an issue for my kids - one started at 6 and one at 11. Neither in the least bit fazed. Honestly, in my experience no-one bats an eyelid.
Transport companies are DBS vetted, you’re likely to get their phone numbers. Yes, some are better than others and we’ve had a mix. When it stopped working for my two then we changed the arrangements but that wasn’t because they were no longer comfortable, it was more the fact that the company had been changed and they were unreliable timewise.
Nothing will ever be perfect but sometimes we just have to make it work
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