Local Authorities have a duty to provide eligible children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) with free home to school/college transport. Currently Local Authorities are being asked to reduce their budgets and they are looking for a variety of cost savings. One area Local Authorities are focusing their attention on is the home to school/college transport budget. This is leading to some children and young people being refused the funded transport that they are entitled to, causing stresses and strains on families that can already be heavily stressed.
Sentas is an advice and advocacy service created to help these families in need across England.
I am currently self-funding Sentas and am in the process of applying to become a Community Interest Company (CIC) in order to facilitate grant funding. In addition, I hope to raise income from voluntary donations by service users or businesses. By donating you are helping Sentas to:
Appeal Local Authorities SEN Home to School Transport decisions - Sentas helps people appeal against Local Authority decisions to not provide SEN home to school/college transport. Sentas can empower parents by providing information and advice to help guide them through that process. Sentas can also act as an advocate by writing appeal letters on parents' behalf using knowledge of the relevant legislation and Government guidance.
Complain to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) or Secretary of State - If appeals to the Local Authority have been unsuccessful, Sentas helps parent to take their complaints further by helping them with the process of complaining to the LGO or Secretary of State.
Talking to parents directly - Sentas visits parent support groups to provide information, and to answer questions directly, to ensure as many parents as possible receive information about SEN home to school/college transport.
Helping parents and young people apply for SEN home to school/college transport - By using our knowledge and experience we can help parents present the best possible application for SEN home to school transport, reducing the probability that the transport assistance will be rejected by the Local Authority.
Review Local Authorities SEN home to school/college transport policies - Sentas reviews Local Authorities home to school/college transport policies against current legislation and government statutory guidance. The long term aim is to improve the quality of Local Authority Transport policies to make them more compliant with national Government guidance and legislation.
Provide greater website functionality for the Sentas Website - to provide a more user friendly website with greater functionality that would include the availability of template letters required throughout the application and appeals process. This would be easy to use and adapt for parents or children with variable needs.