Derby protest over proposed special needs transport cuts

Derby school transport demo
Image caption The city council is proposing changes to the service in order to make savings

Parents and carers have been protesting in Derby against proposals to cut back school transport for children with special needs.

The group gathered in the city centre ahead of a cabinet meeting at Derby City Council to discuss the plans.

The service takes more than 700 disabled children to and from specialist schools around the city.

Councillors promised to listen to people's views but said maintaining the current scheme would be "unaffordable".

Karen Pollard, whose five-year-old granddaughter Namine has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, uses the transport service every day.

"We need this service. It is important for us and the children," she said.

Image caption Karen Pollard said the transport service was important for the parents, carers and children

Under the proposed changes, the authority is looking at providing people with a budget for their own transport or to use regular buses.

The service would only remain available for students aged 16-18 who have severely restricted mobility.

The city council said it would listen to campaigners' views and the deadline for people to give their thoughts on the proposals had been extended to Thursday.

A representative said: "We have undertaken a number of consultation events across the city for parents/carers, as we particularly want to understand parents/carers' views."

A final decision on the plans is expected in June, with changes coming into effect in September if approved.

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