The city council has today done a u-turn on controversial plans to cut council organised transport to school for disabled and special needs students.
After proposing to issue over 16s with special educational needs and disabilities with personal travel allowances instead of transport to get to school from September, Leeds City Council announced this afternoon it will now halt the scheme for a year.
It is believed the changes would have saved the authority up to £830,000 but following objections from parents, carers and students themselves the proposals will be re-worked.
Coun Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for learning, skills and employment said: “By putting our broader proposals on pause, it means that over the next year we can continue to do all we can to help other young people and families in future find the best possible solutions to fit individual circumstances.
“Leeds City Council has a long and outstanding track record for funding post-16 SEND transport provision but the harsh reality of reduced funding for councils means this is increasingly difficult to maintain.”
The latest development has been welcomed by Rachel Reeves MP who has supported parents with their campaign.
She said: “I welcome the news Leeds City Council will be delaying changes to post-16 SEND transport assistance. It’s vitally important that disabled children can travel safely to school.
“I look forward to continuing to work with families affected and the Council to find a long-term solution to make sure disabled children do not have to pay the price of the Government’s devastating cuts to local councils.”
Leeds City Council currently spends around £1.8m a year on minibus and taxi provision for 280 young people in SEND post-16 education. The changes, agreed, after earlier consultation, would have applied to the first 100 young people entering post-16 learning from September.
Coun Pryor added the authority will continue to offer places on its idependent travel skills, which have helped 600 students so far.