Proposal of Cuts to Dorset SEND Services to be Reviewed

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According to Dorset County Council, those who have great needs are expected to win the SEND service.

Last year, there was a controversial protest conducted by parents when a suggestion opened for conversation. It was suggested that the system should be replaced by a set of pick-up points. However, the idea was not accepted when the committee chairman returned the paper as the proposed changes apparently needed further improvement.

The move is expected to meet the increasing costs of the SEND service. The costs were estimated to be around £720,000 above the set budget for the present financial year.

Currently, there is a new study being undertaken, and it will include a comprehensive consultation with the guardians, parents, and carers of those children who are affected by this move. However, the study emphasized the disclaimer: “Those children and young people with high and/or complex needs are not included in the scope of this work.”

According to the report to the county council Cabinet, one of the major underlying principles did not change, and it is to encourage the efficient consumption of the Personal Travel Budgets, the sum of money directly paid into a parent, guardian, or carer’s bank account which will be used for their children’s travel to and from school. Each parent will receive an amount according to the distance between the child’s home and school.

Currently, there are only 15% of families eligible for Special Education Needs transport that chose to have a PTB.

A county council Cabinet report says: “We would like to offer more choice when considering their child’s travel. We would like to be able to provide more personalised travel options that are designed to meet the specific needs of children and young people. We would then consider each child’s individual needs and offer the most appropriate solutions.

“It is important to note that we acknowledge that Personal Travel Budgets are not appropriate for every family and that children with the highest level of need will continue to be offered the highest levels of support.”

The SEND transport review shall be included in the council’s study into the transport and travel services given to all residents.

This review, as told to Councillors, aims to secure that the services given are based on the needs of individuals and those of communities. It also aims to “provide value for money, ensuring that local tax-payers money is used effectively and targeted to support the needs of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

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