Axed bus ser­vice a big blow for fam­ily

Girl with Down’s syn­drome may have to move school

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

A WEST Dray­ton fam­ily are wor­ried their sixyear-old daugh­ter with Down’s syn­drome may have to move schools after Hilling­don Coun­cil an­nounced it would no longer be pro­vid­ing a bus pick up ser­vice.

Nick and Cathy Boore re­ceived a let­ter from the coun­cil around two weeks ago, an­nounc­ing their daugh­ter will not be picked up or dropped off to her home by bus, as it aims to re­duce the num­ber of ve­hi­cles on the roads.

In­stead the cou­ple will have to take their daugh­ter to a pre­ar­ranged pick up point, which has yet to be an­nounced, and they said it is the un­cer­tainty that is fu­elling their con­cerns.

Mr Boore, 43, told the Gazette: “We don’t know how it’s go­ing to af­fect us.

“They just seem to be cut­ting chil­dren’s ser­vices all over the place.

“They seem to be cut­ting it to the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple.

“The last thing we want to do is take her out of the school, but it might come to that.”

Their daugh­ter cur­rently uses the Hilling­don Coun­cil­pro­vided bus ser­vice to get to Grange­wood Spe­cial School, around eight miles away in East­cote.

Grange­wood is a pri­mary school for chil­dren with se­vere learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and phys­i­cal and com­plex needs, but be­cause of bud­get cuts by the coun­cil, group pick-up points will be in­tro­duced after the spring half-term on February 20 next year.

Hilling­don Coun­cil said the new scheme is be­ing in­tro­duced to re­duce the num­ber of ve­hi­cles on the roads and the num­ber of ve­hi­cles ar­riv­ing at the school.

How­ever, Mr Boore fears for the im­pact the changes will have on his fam­ily, es­pe­cially as the cou­ple have four chil­dren, in­clud­ing a six month old baby.

He said: “We’ve got other chil­dren as well to sort out.

“We’re Dray­ton, points] any­where.

“We’ve no idea what that could be. It could be the end of the road, or the other end of West Dray­ton.” in West [the pick-up could be

Mr Boore added: “[Our daugh­ter has] only been walk­ing for the last 12 months.

“Walk­ing is a con­cern for us be­cause we don’t know where the pick up point will be.

“[The bus ser­vice] should stay as it is. It’s been work­ing re­ally well.

“Our daugh­ter’s been at the school for just over a year and she’s re­ally come into her own.

“She’s get­ting a bit of in­de­pen­dence.”

Mr and Mrs Boore

Our daugh­ter’s been at the school for just over a year and she’s re­ally come into her own”

have now writ­ten to Hayes and Har­ling­ton MP John McDon­nell in the hope he will cham­pion their cause.

In their let­ter to Mr McDon­nell, the cou­ple say that there was no con­sul­ta­tion on the changes and that the is­sue is leav­ing many par­ents ‘an­gry, up­set, wor­ried and dis­tressed’.

It is un­clear which schools in the bor­ough are be­ing im­pacted by these bus ser­vice changes.

A state­ment from Hilling­don Coun­cil said: “The cur­rent dis­abil­ity transport ser­vice in­volves costly in­di­vid­ual home col­lec­tions for each child.

“We will be re­plac­ing this ser­vice with group pick-up points for some pupils, so par­ents or car­ers will ac­com­pany their chil­dren to their near­est col­lec­tion point in the morn­ing and meet them again in the af­ter­noon.

“All pick-up points will be within a mile of the child’s home, with many be­ing con­sid­er­ably less than a mile. We are cur­rently eval­u­at­ing the needs of each child on a case-by-case ba­sis and not all pupils and schools will be af­fected. Par­ents will be no­ti­fied of any changes to their child’s school transport at the be­gin­ning of Jan­uary, and we plan to launch a phased im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new ser­vice from February 20 2017.”

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