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Does your child with special needs spend as much time in school as a child without special needs?
If there's a special needs school transport bus involved, the answer might be NO
Parents of disabled children have used the freedom of information act to request some figures from several schools across the country and came across some shocking answers and found that in many Uk schools, special-education students were leaving the building twenty or thirty minutes before the official end of the school day.

Schools seem to be wanting to get slow-moving students and their little buses out of the way before the rest of the students and parents arrive for the regular school end, but the loss in education for students who are most in need of educational help is both extreme and inexcusable.

Some local authorities who responded also replied stating they keep pupils in an area such as the school hall for that same twenty or thirty minutes after the end of the day before their buses collect the children, and that's no better solution as it leads to unstructured time in a noisy place that could lead to further problems.

Parents of disabled children have compiled a useful guide on the use of buses provided for those children with special educational needs.

Questions to ask about school buses for children with special needs

1. What time will the bus come?
You should receive notification about bus arrival times before your child's first school day

2.Who will be on the bus with my child?
Most special-education buses will have a driver and a support worker, and you'll usually have the same staff every day. Get to know the staff. Ask their names, and make sure they know yours. If there's particular information you need them to know such as medical problem,or a behavioral tactic that helps in your routine let them know.

3. How will my child be kept in the seat?
Will a specialist car seat be provided for use if required?
Will the vechicle be ready for wheelchair use?
Always check this in advance.

4.What route does the bus take to school?
The school your child attends may seem like a straight run, but if the bus is picking up children along the route, it may make quite a lot of detours along the way.
You may not be able to get official notification of where the bus goes after you as the school will quote the data protection act, but that's easily fixed it's not a bad idea to follow the bus to school on the first day anyway to smooth your child's transition, and what you learn along the way is your own business and its also a great way to check on the drivers driving skills Big Grin

5. What time does the bus get to school?
Don't assume that the bus gets to school ontime for a smooth transition into the school day.
Some buses may arrive so early that your child has large stretches of unstructured time to fill before class, or so late that morning routines are thrown into disarray.
Traffic and weather being what they are, it's impossible to assure punctuality each and every day of the school term, but if the bus's scheduled arrival time is either very early or reliably late, that can have a real detrimental impact on the school day for your child.
This is where good relationships with teachers and bus staff pay off ,ask them what time the bus gets to school.
They may be as unhappy with it as you are.

6. Where do Children go when they get off the bus?
Ideally, your child would go directly from the bus to the classroom. Ideally, if your child has a one-on-one support worker, that individual would be present at that time.
But things are very often not so well planned. Your child may go into a hallway or outdoor area for the time between bus arriving and the bell ringing, and some support workers may not come on duty until well after that time. If that will leave your child at risk of mistreatment or behavior problems, ask if other arrangements can be made. There may be a protected spot that children with special needs can go to, someone who can watch your child.

7. What time does the bus leave to come home?
It's a dirty little secret that children in special education often get dismissed from their classes early, and tucked on their buses well before the bell rings and non special needs students are released. That may not sound so bad as you may want your child navigating school hallways when they're not busy with students. But do a little maths and find out how much class time is actually being missed. If it's an inappropriate amount, bring it up with the teacher. Especially if the bus is arriving late in the morning, your child may be deprived of a significant amount of learning time, just for the sake of convenience on the schools behalf

8. What time will the bus return?
You'll want to make sure your home when the bus gets there, or have somebody to greet your child in your place. It might be a good idea to have a neighbour who can meet your child in case of emergency, and to let the bus staff know that you've made this arrangement. This may be a particular concern if you have other children in different schools who you must pick up at a time close to the bus drop-off time,Should you have a problem being home at the drop-off time, it doesn't hurt to ask the bus personnel or the transportation department whether a route change is possible. It may also be an option to have your child dropped at a different destination in the afternoon such as a relatives house.
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I am new to this. I could do with some advice. I have searched the code of practice, education act etc but I cannot find what I need.

I am trying to find out the maximum journey time for Sen transport. The legal stuff says 45mins for under 12 and 75 mins for over 12. It says that these times can be changed for SEN but no one says what time.

My step daughter is 12 years but a mental age of approx 4/5 years. The school she is about to satrt is 30mins away by car. The Council have said that she will be picked up at 7.55am which will make of journey of 65mins. Ithink that this is far too long for her. Does anyone know of any 'guidelines'?
King reagrds
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My question is does anybody know the facts regarding escorts on school transport. My daughter is 12 and attends a special school and an 8 seater taxi bus is provided. I feel there should be an escort with them as all children have SEN. I have spoken to the LA transport who told me that escorts aren't provided for secondary children and I would have to take it to commissioning if I am unhappy or take her myself. My daughter has a SLD and is finding it hard to cope with other behaviours on bus.

Also the bus driver pulled over for fuel last week leaving them unattended while he went to pay. He also drives off as soon as she's out the vehicle before I can get outside.
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