ANGRY parents claim a decision not to continue with the current bus service for Hinderton School will have a detrimental effect on their autistic children.
Cheshire County Council has opted not to renew the contract for its current transport provider and instead will bus youngsters to the school in Capenhurst Lane, Whitby on its own fleet, starting in September.
Carol Finn is one of the parents who have reacted angrily to the decision and although her nine year-old son moves to a school in Elton in September she still feels strongly about maintaining the current service.
She said: “Elaine and Mike, who provided the service, treated every child as an individual rather than a statistic.
“Autistic children do not take to change. We wondered how they would cope on the bus but this couple put parents at ease.
“They even came to your home to strike up a relationship with the kids. These people gave 110%.
“A petition has been organised which all the parents and beyond have signed.”
Another parent, who did not wish to be named, said: “Having had the same bus driver for three years my child is comfortable and happy with the service he receives when being taken to and from school.
“I think this option is the best for my child instead of the county fleet but having said this to the Transport Coordination Team, it seems to have just been ignored.
“From the view of a parent, I feel the change is subject to saving funds, not what is best for the children.
“Autistic children do not like change and get very upset at the prospect of not knowing what will happen next. It will cause the children to be very unhappy which will have a knock-on effect on their work, behaviour and attitude towards other people.”
Cheshire County Council says the drivers on its county fleet service are experienced at dealing with children with special needs but understands that parents are concerned about the change.
A spokeswoman said: “We are required to tender out on a regular basis. The current contract runs out at the end of the school year.
“After reviewing the transport provision we found spare capacity in our county fleet service, which takes adults and children with learning difficulties to day centres in Ellesmere Port and Chester.
“We completely understand the concerns of some parents about the lack of continuity.
“We will be speaking to each carer individually to offer assurances and address any problems they may have.”