Birmingham news SEVEN children taken to wrong schools in transport fiasco in Birmingham MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - A full independent inquiry was announced after the children were transported to the wrong schools and a total of 120 transport routes were cancelled
Breaking News ! A full independent inquiry is to take place into the council's home to school transport service after it was revealed that SEVEN children were taken to wrong schools at the start of the Autumn term. And one councillor has labelled the service 'an abomination', while concerned parents have also demanded answers. But while the Cabinet member responsible, Cllr Kate Booth, 'wholeheartedly and unreservedly' issued a full apology to those affected today, she refused calls to resign, insisting that she was 'sticking with' her portfolio. The past few weeks have seen parents from across the city in uproar over the arrangements for home to school transport, with children transported to the wrong school, buses not showing up to collect children and parents left in the dark about the arrangements for their child, with no way of contacting authorities. Read More Related Articles BirminghamLive newsletter: Daily news direct to your email inbox Read More Related Articles Severely disabled teen who can't speak dropped off at WRONG school - and nobody knew who he was The incidents are just the latest in a long line of controversies around the service, with it being revealed earlier this year that one driver who failed a DBS check was allowed to work with children unchecked. A 280-signature petition demanding answers has been started by parents, and on Monday (Sep 14) the Chair of the Birmingham Special School Head Teacher Association, Denise Fountain, wrote to the council saying the organisation had 'no confidence in the organisations who are responsible for managing' the transport, calling the service 'complete chaos' and adding how schools were 'creating a safety net for schools transport', by collecting children the service has missed. Papers from this week's meeting show that a total of 120 transport routes were cancelled in the first week of term, while also revealing that letters informing parents about arrangements for their children were sent out as late as September 5. Read More Related Articles Another blunder as girl left at wrong Birmingham school leaving family 'frantic' - as council hints more children were affected Read More Related Articles 'How safe are our children?' - After boy left abandoned in Birmingham the school transport scandal continues Another councillor claimed that one of his constituents had made 51 calls to the Travel Assist number in a single day, none of which were answered, while it was also revealed that seven children have been taken to the wrong school so far this year - with only one such incident in the previous three years. However it was Councillor Kath Scott, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee overseeing SEND transport, who best summed up the issues, saying: "What has come to light over the past two weeks has been an exceptional let down for the committee. Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will start in8Cancel Play now "I wish to express that we need to change our attitude in this city. Parents, carers, children and schools are expecting this service to work. We need to stop minimising the issues and understand the impact it is having when a bus does not turn up and a parent or school cannot get through to us. "Children cannot get to school and are missing their legal right to an education. Parents are not able to get to work, and I want no more apologies and more immediate action please.
. That’s 4 per cent of routes, each of which has 4-6 children on each bus. How many children are not getting to school, and how many hours does that amount to? We need to take this way more seriously, and take action more swiftly.
Councillor Kath Scott, chair of the education and children's social care overview and scrutiny committee.
(Image: Birmingham City Council)
"The only way forward now is to seek to prevent the continual and negative impact this service is having on vulnerable children - children for whom we have a statutory responsibility to keep safe and deliver to school ready to learn." Back when she first took her position as the Cabinet member for Children's Wellbeing Cllr Kate Booth made the SEND transport service her 'top priority', with another inquiry into the service only recently concluded. And several members of the council's Conservative group called on Cllr Booth to resign during the meeting, with fears that service users will be facing the same issues two years down the line. “For years now things have been unacceptable," said Cllr Alex Yip (Con, Sutton Wylde Green) Shadow Cabinet Member for Children’s Wellbeing.
Conservative councillor Alex Yip
"My greatest fear is that in two further years time we will be met with the same platitudes, excuses, unfulfilled promises, pleas to look forward and new promises. "I am a hopeful person but in this issue I have worked with, waited, collaborated, supported, challenged, waited some more, and some more. I am left bereft of any other options. "I look on in shame in how we are leaving families across the city. What more do we need to happen for someone to take responsibility? Whilst I welcome another review, we know from bitter experience that this is unlikely to lead to change without a change in the leadership that has failed so badly. "And that is why with regret we are calling for the cabinet member to consider her position as the first step towards accepting responsibility, change and rebuilding trust.”
Source = MetiNews.Com