To not want the Council to make my son late for school?

(68 Posts)
JKSLtd Mon 09-Sep-13 18:36:15

OK, it's not quite that straightforward but...

DS2 gets a bus to his SN school.
(Originally they picked him up last)
Then they changed to pick him up first as they realised I was always ready & waiting for them, with DS1 (now 7) & DD (now 2.5) in the car. They asked if it would be better to get DS2 earlier, it was, so they did.
All was fine.

Now they've had the rules 'tightened' and they must pick up in order of 'near-ness' to school. DS2 is closest to school so must be the last pickup. This means that DS1 will always be late for his school. DD doesn't have to be in until a bit later (pre-sch) for now but will eventually be made late too.

We've asked if they can't do like last year and been told it's against the rules, and meanwhile the (lovely) driver is in trouble for changing her route last year sad

They think that DS2 will be on the bus for too long if he's picked up first (max is 45mins, and it would be about that).
But...he was perfectly happy with this last year.

We are happy for him to be on the bus that long.
He is happy to be on the bus that long.
The driver is happy to pick him up first.
The bus company is happy to pick him up first.

The Council seems to be in charge of the transport and refuses to change the order.
We can appeal (and in the middle of loads of paperwork) but have already been told it probably will be refused as it's not on medical grounds.
Also told that 'it's a free service, you don't have to use it, you can take him to school yourself or arrange childcare/breakfast club for the other children'
(DS1 & DD's school do not have a breakfast club and anyway even if it did, I would have to take DS2 with me to drop them off then home for the bus, which would be ridiculous and have him in a car/bus for longer anyway.)
I can't take him to school myself as the times are the same as DS1.

So, the Council are determined to make at least one of my children late for school every day.
(Oh, btw DH is away with work most of the week, of course on the rare days he's here/still here at sch run time he will help out).

What can I say to help them change their minds??

Sorry this is too long, I hope you've made it to the end! brew

sparkle12mar08 Mon 09-Sep-13 18:46:01

The things is though, they're right. You do in theory have all those other options to choose from if you really wanted to. It really isn't their fault that you're in such a difficult situation. What you can actually do about it though, I don't know.

Hmmm... It does seem crazy that as all the people involved on a practical level are happy for your DS2 to be picked up first, he still can't be for an administrative reason. YANBU to not want it to be this way.

As devil's advocate though, you could have ended up with 2 children at different schools with the same start time without SN involved, and had the problem of needing to get 2 children to different schools at the same time without any entitlement to free transport...

However the fact does seem to be that your problem has an obvious solution which everyone involved is happy to implement and only the rather "jobsworth" application of "policy" without consideration of the human element is preventing the problem from being solved. Good luck with the appeal smile

BrokenSunglasses Mon 09-Sep-13 18:56:00

Where does the bus come from? Is the driver having to leave early, or do extra mileage to pick your ds up first?

seesensepeople Mon 09-Sep-13 18:56:46

I would think in a situation like this the local Councillor or even MP would be a very useful ally. Good Luck OP.

AmberLeaf Mon 09-Sep-13 18:58:35

How ridiculous.

BackforGood Mon 09-Sep-13 18:59:22

I have to say when I worked in Special school, the transport in the first couple of weeks was a nightmare as everyone was following the route dictated for them by the admin people who sat in offices and didn't know about all the things like individual children's behaviour, and the fact that this child's parents would be waiting, but that child would always be late, etc. The driver and guide used to just do what suited everybody on their route after that and things went much more smoothly. I suspect they didn't involve the people in the office, who thought the route was being done 'their' way, and everyone was happy wink

Sirzy Mon 09-Sep-13 19:01:33

How much does it change the route mileage wise?

PurplePidjin Mon 09-Sep-13 19:04:18

Is his transport in his statement?

Retroformica Mon 09-Sep-13 19:05:23

Get them to pick up from your preschool. Tell them that at x time you will be leaving the house to get to play group on time.

Do you know any of the other children on the route? Could you meet the bus a few "stops" further back?

JKSLtd Mon 09-Sep-13 19:41:59

Thanks for all your replies, I'll try and answer everything.

Purple - I haven't seen his statement for ages so can't remember if transport is exactly mentioned in it, possibly not but - he is eligible for transport in multiple ways;
higher rate mobility
lives more than 3 miles from sch
and something else i've forgotten right now.

BrokenSunglasses & Sirzy - The bus leaves from school, drives past us (ok not past our front door, but past our area, picks up the other 4, then DS, then onto school) so it shouldn't add to mileage or cost in any way that I can see.
Driver is definitely happy to do this.

BackForGood - that is exactly what has happened in the past, the drivers have realised what actually works for people and changed accordingly, within reason. I was told by the jobsworth lady on the phone that; it's not just your bus, all of the drivers are getting a slap on the wrist as they've been changing their routes to suit the families' shock horror!

And, I should add, the world has gone truly crazy; the Council now employ 'compliance officers' who will unannounced follow the buses to ensure they are following the agreed route shock
Today, for eg, the bus arrived 10mins ahead of the new time, so I got DS1 to school (exactly on time as his class was going in, he joined the back of the line) - the company lady told me if the compliance people had seen that they would've gone to the company and demanded to know why - in this case they could justify it as a child was off sick at the last minute. And they would have to justify it in every instance. The drivers have been told that sometimes they will know they are being followed, other times the compliance officers will wait at a corner to check in secret shock, can you believe it?!
All the drivers have now been told it's a sackable offence to change route as it will lose the company the contract!

Retro & Horry- AFAIK he has to be picked up at his home address, it certainly mentions the address to where the child benefit goes (slightly outdated forms as we don't get CB anymore...!).

It is just so frustrating. Interestingly, one of the company ladies is also a Cllr but she is at a bit of a loss to help as the Council keep threatening to withdraw the contract if there's any more trouble so she doesn't want to rock the boat. She has raised it with her boss who knows what's going on and he may take it back to the Council and say come on guys, sort it out. But he can't do much either.

RedHelenB Mon 09-Sep-13 19:45:57

Couldn't ds1 go to school with a friend?

JKSLtd Mon 09-Sep-13 19:46:28

Oh and I've also checked if he could change bus to be a 'further away' pupil but there are no spaces on any of the buses and anyway he loves his bus, driver, friends on the bus, etc. And change is all part of the problem.

We have been told we are free to appeal but we cannot use the fact that it will make DS1 late in anyway as it's totally irrelevant sad
I understand they can't take every families whims into account but when it makes no overall difference and everyone concerned is happy to do it, it's just nuts.

JKSLtd Mon 09-Sep-13 19:47:43

Well, technically he could yes but...we don't seem to live that near to any of his classmates/people i know from school so it would be asking a lot of someone to come out of their way to get him nearly every day & i could hardly ever return the favour after school as we have to leg it straight home...to be here for DS2's bus!

daftdame Mon 09-Sep-13 19:51:06

Could you drive DS2 to one of the earlier pick ups? Do you know any of the other parents who would let him wait at their house?

Finola1step Mon 09-Sep-13 19:58:10

You could try approaching the issue via ds1's school. Punctuality and attendance are very, very hot topics at the moment as they are really high up on Ofsted's hit list. Therefore, the head of ds1's school will be very reluctant to see him coming in late every day. Tell them the problem, ask to meet with their Atendance and Welfare Advisor (or similar depending in the local authority). See if they can put pressure on the council to make special arrangements for ds2.

JKSLtd Mon 09-Sep-13 20:11:44

daftdame - i actually don't know any of the other parents on DS2's route, despite knowing lots of his SN school's parents. And as said, the forms state pick up from house where CB is paid to.

Finola - this is where you all shoot me <whispers> DS1 & DD go to an independent school, they will be totally chilled about it I think...! I could be wrong so it is still worth mentioning but if I said, 'i'm letting you know that DS1 will be late whenever DH is away' they would most likely say 'ok, bad luck, we'll let his form teacher know'!
And they would be unlikely to want to try and put pressure on the Council in any way. And it all comes back to the fact that DS1 being late ie irrelevant as far as the transport people are concerned sad

candycoatedwaterdrops Mon 09-Sep-13 20:16:50

YANBU to feel frustrated at the bureaucracy but I think YABU to expect them to change it to accommodate another child of yours.

JKSLtd Mon 09-Sep-13 20:19:00

You're right I know & sparkle too I missed you earlier.

It's just so damn stupid! (coherent adult argument there!)

Runningchick123 Mon 09-Sep-13 20:20:41

This could well be my council who are equally stubborn And stupid when it comes to dealing with sen transport and sibling issues. I will come back and explain tomorrow when I have more time.

JKSLtd Mon 09-Sep-13 20:23:02

Thanks smile

And I keep coming back to thinking, I don't want DS2 to be at his sn school, I want him with his siblings in mainstream. I didn't know he was going to be SN, I didn't plan for it, it just happened. And now I feel like we're having our lives made more difficult in some sort of punishment when we didn't choose any of this.
Waffling I know but I've been dwelling all day on this, well nearly a week now since they told us about the change in time.

How frustrating. I think the only thing you can try is simply asking 'How can you help me to ensure all my children get to school on time' BUT you're as likely to get an absurd answer as you are to get anybody actually making sense.

dixiechick1975 Mon 09-Sep-13 20:27:21

A few people at dd's school use a retired lady to do the school run (literally pick up from home and drive 15 mins to school - no childcare as such). Sho

I have to say if they are sticking to the rules to the letter i'd go through the terms with a fine toothcomb.

If the wording is collection only from the address to where the child benefit is paid and there is no child benefit paid anymore argue collection can be from any point of your choosing and choose the school DS1/DD go to.

Viviennemary Mon 09-Sep-13 20:30:47

This is incredibly difficult for you. And you can appeal. But in the grand scheme of things does it really matter if a child of that age is late for school if everybody understands the situation. If the council won't budge and you can't take them yourself apart from appealing I can't see a way round it. Unless you write to your MP local councillor and so on. Please don't get yourself too stressed about this.

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