Parents to fight for Little Heath School door-to-door bus service

Parents protesting outside Little Heath School over council proposals to cut back on a door-to-door

Parents protesting outside Little Heath School over council proposals to cut back on a door-to-door pick-up service for disabled children - Credit: Archant

Parents of children with special needs have spoken out against a proposed pilot scheme to scrap a door-to-door school bus service.

Redbridge Council sent letters to parents notifying them of the plan, which could see severely disabled children from Little Heath School, Hainault Road, Little Heath, taken to school by minibus from allocated pick-up points.

The plan to trial the scheme at the special needs school for 11 to 19-year-olds from September for three months has sparked outrage among parents.

Indi Camalapen, 43, of Westwood Road, Seven Kings, whose severely autistic 14-year-old daughter attends the school, said the idea was “disgusting”.

“We already have the pressure of caring for a disabled child,” she said.

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“How do they expect us to do this? She will not leave the house until she sees the bus.

“We all have to make cuts but this is picking on disabled and vulnerable children.”

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In the letter to parents, seen by the Recorder, it said the move would “ease pressure” on traffic and “assist with increasing your child’s independence”.

Mrs Camalapen added: “If they were able to be independent they wouldn’t be in a special needs school.

“There’s no dignity for children with special needs – it’s disgusting.”

Parent and school governor Jason Naicker, 46, from South Woodford, whose 18-year-old autistic daughter is at the school, said the council was “experimenting with the most vulnerable in society”.

“It is just not practical,” he said. “To wait in the rain or in the cold with a child who has behavioural difficulties is not ideal – I can’t understand the logic.”

Another parent, who did not want to be named, said getting her child out of the house was hard enough.

“The only thing that motivates him is the bus turning up outside,” she said.

A council spokesman said a consultation with parents started yesterday.

He added: “Officers will respond to questions and parents’ feedback will be considered before any decisions are made.”

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