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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on special needs.

Anyone travel far to Blossom House Euston or Helen Allison School
15

Brightflower21 · 14/05/2022 18:58

How does everyone cope with a long drive to independent SEN school It would take us an hour to get Blossom House Euston or 40 minutes to get to Helen Allison School. Please any comments would be really helpful my daughter has Asd and a language disorder. Primary need is Speech and language. How do you cope with long journeys ? These are our two options and we will be going to Tribunal. She’s only 6 we are not asking LA for transport. Any comments would be so helpful please

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KnottyAuty · 16/05/2022 12:14

We are looking to change placements and are considering the drastic step of boarding due to travel issues. Oddly the argument about fees for an indie place can be simpler at tribunal because if they board, you will no longer claim travel costs, DLA, short breaks etc etc on top of the school funding. This makes the costing calculations (to the taxpayer) easier when trying to show that there is not excessive expense. Having read several tribunal proceedings the court will probably include the cost of transport of a local placement unless you can show that you can sustainably afford the travel portion.

Have you done the journey with your DC to try it out at the time of day you will travel on an actual school day? I think I would do that before naming at tribunal. It would be terrible to discover that your DC couldn't manage it after winning a place.

Also have you looked at other schools - based on your choices I assume you are in the south east. There are quite a few schools in the Bromley and SE London area that looked interesting. There are a few different places to find lists:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-special-schools-and-colleges
www.nasschools.org.uk/schools/
educationadvocacy.co.uk/sen-schools-map/
crested.org.uk/parents-schools-map.html

Good luck

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AReallyUsefulEngine · 16/05/2022 13:12

For primary 45 minutes is generally considered reasonable travel time, although many do travel further. DS1 travelled over an hour for a day placement in a CAMHS unit, he coped much better than I thought he would. We loaded his iPad with things to watch and sent him with a little tub of Lego.

Think carefully about not requesting transport, what if your circumstances change?

You can search for schools here.

Knotty You can still claim DLA when DC attend a residential school, you just don’t get the care component for the days when they are solely at school. So if they weekly board M-F you would lose the care component for 3 days of the week. You can still claim carer’s too.

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Brightflower21 · 17/05/2022 19:19

Thank you everyone for your comments, information and suggestions. Yes we are in Bromley. Baston House and Riverston ( which are close to us ) no longer take her age group. Entry is from 11 years old onwards. Boarding is not an option for us. I am planning to try the journey myself first and then take her with me. Such a shame as she does need a speech and language setting as this is her primary need. The schools are so far though. I’m trying to keep positive. Lack of provision from the Local Authority is causing her difficulties accessing the curriculum in a mainstream setting.
ive heard the Local Authority pay some parents costs for petrol. Do you know if this is true ?
Knotty Aunty I hope all goes well with your possible boarding option.

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AReallyUsefulEngine · 17/05/2022 20:52

Yes, you can ask for mileage in lieu of transport.

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KnottyAuty · 17/05/2022 21:21

Transport costs can be provided as a Personal Budget. In our area the LA calculates travel per mile on a standard rate. I think it is 40p/mile on the standard UK "expense" rate which of course is nowhere near enough to cover the cost of the actual travel if you want to employ a drivere/taxi firm... So in the end we are paid to transport our dc to school and the LA know that's what people do. It is the same wheeze that the pull on schools giving them less money than the cost of a 1:1. It is all illegal but to stop it you have to take them to Judicial Review and most people can't be bothered/have the funds to do that

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KnottyAuty · 17/05/2022 21:22

However if transport was included in a tribunal order I think that they do organise and pay for taxis

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AReallyUsefulEngine · 17/05/2022 21:29

Our LA give different parents different amounts depending on what they think they can get away with, but even the maximum of 45ppm in line with the HMRC fuel allowance doesn’t come close to the actual costs at the moment.

Knotty the LA cannot force you to have mileage instead of transport. You don’t need to go via tribunal, if your LA are trying it on SENTAS specialise in helping with transport appeals - Gavin is brilliant.

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Brightflower21 · 17/05/2022 21:54

Thank you everyone. Can I ask how do some Local Authorities pay the mileage ? Is it every term ? Every week? Do you have to give receipts?

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AReallyUsefulEngine · 17/05/2022 22:02

How it is paid varies LA to LA, and sometimes even within the LA.

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KnottyAuty · 18/05/2022 16:46

We get a payment termly near-ish the start of each term

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KnottyAuty · 18/05/2022 16:47

No receipts because I think they know that it's not enough to pay anyone else

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Brightflower21 · 02/06/2022 05:11

Does anyone know if it is possible for a parent to travel with a child in a taxi to school where the Local Authority are paying for transport. Does this ever happen? Is it allowed? Are there insurance issues?
Im asking as the child is 6 and wondering whether it could be an option. Just looking at all different options. I am not comfortable sending my 6 year old on her own with a chaperone, and she would not be comfortable with this due to various reasons.

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Punxsutawney · 02/06/2022 09:08

Wouldn't the taxi have to then take the parent home again, after school drop off? I've not heard of that happening, but I'm no expert.

Ds is an older teen but the taxi to his placement, has been a life changer for me. I had been doing the school run for more years than I care to remember. And with Ds getting him to school had always been so stressful with plenty of dysregulation. He has quite severe anxiety and has settled into the taxi journey, far better than I expected, better than the actual placement!
I appreciate your Dd is much younger though. Would the mileage be a good option for you?

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Brightflower21 · 02/06/2022 10:34

Ok thank you. I wouldnt expect the taxi the drop me home. Just trying to see if this is ever an option for a parent to sit with their child in the taxi.

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AReallyUsefulEngine · 02/06/2022 15:30

I’m not sure the LA are going to agree to that. But your best arguments will be a) evidence DD cannot travel without you (this will be difficult as pupils, including KS1 pupils, with SEN travel without parents every day - parents often think their DC won’t cope but once settled they cope much better than parents anticipate) and b) emphasising it will save the LA money as they won’t need an escort.

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