Breach of Education Act leads to shock Government U-turn on School Transport Guidance

In his latest policy U-turn Education Secretary Michael Gove has today been forced to withdraw controversial Statutory Guidance on Home to School Transport after it was ruled to have breached conditions set out in the 1996 Education Act. A slimmed down guidance was published in March 2013 replacing the previous Statutory Guidance initially issued in 2007. This revised document was controversial in some quarters because it was claimed that the new guidance watered down the requirement on local authorities to ensure that children with SEN or a disability receive free and suitable home to school transport when they attend their nearest school. Given the increase in the financial pressure on local authorities it was feared that this guidance could result in children with SEN losing the free transport they currently receive.

However, following a legal challenge from a parent’s charity the new guidance has now been withdrawn and the 2007 Guidance reinstated. It was ruled that the Government did not consult widely enough on the revision of the guidance and will now need to hold discussions with relevant stakeholder if it wishes to revise the guidance in future. Although this U-turn is not as high profile as the one on the EBacc it could have a considerable positive impact on disabled children across the country.

Gary Jones.