A Seaford parent has raised concerns about the school transport system for disabled children

A parent from Seaford has voiced their frustration over East Sussex County Council’s handling of school transport for disabled children.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 2:10 pm

A parent from Seaford has voiced their frustration over East Sussex County Council’s handling of school transport for disabled children.

Back in July a number of parents contacted the Express after the council awarded a school transport contract to a new company.

Despite concerns from parents of disabled children in the county, plans went ahead.

Mate Bodé with his son. SUS-210209-102741001

Matt Bodé said he only found out who was going to be driving his son to school at 11.50pm two days before he started.

Mr Bodé said the council had told him he would know who his son’s driver was by August 16 – he instead found out on August 31.

He said, “I then got an email, as did parents throughout the county, at 10 to midnight from East Sussex County Council telling me who my driver was going to be.

“I have never met him, it could be anybody.”

Mr Bodé voiced his frustration about the way the situation had been handled and how it impacts fellow parents.

He said, “They are expected to put their children in a taxi with a complete stranger.”

The father of two explained that the council, along with transport company 24x7 Limited, could have organised transport better and ahead of time.

Mr Bodé, whose son goes to school in Eastbourne, also said there was a lack of communication from the council and company.

He said “There are parents across this county who are on the edge as they are trying to get their families ready for school.”

Due to his displeasure with the situation, Mr Bodé said he turned down the option and will drive his son to school himself.

He said, “I will have to take time off to take my son to and from school until they address my concerns.

“We are not going to be backed into a corner.

“We shouldn’t be in this position. Our lives are hard enough day-to-day.

“They do not care.”

Mr Bodé said there are ‘a lot’ of parents who are also upset with the situation.

A spokesperson from East Sussex County Council said, “We appreciate the concerns raised by the parents and join with 24x7 to apologise for any upset and anxiety that has been caused by unexpected issues with the supply of vehicles by a manufacturer. We want to reassure them that, whilst we work with the provider to address the issues that have affected some families, safe and appropriate transport will be provided to enable their children to travel to school.

“Following the outcome of a robust and competitive tendering process, we wrote to families over the summer to advise them of changes and introduce new providers where there has been a change. We have been in contact again apologising for the current situation and explaining the arrangements in place, and will continue to keep them updated as we work towards a solution.

“24x7 have worked successfully with other local authorities and we are confident that they can overcome the current situation and provide a high quality and reliable service in the county.”

If you have been affected, please contact [email protected]