School Transport Changes Compromise Student Safety
26 FEBRUARY 2013
School Transport Changes Compromise Student Safety And Attendance
New Zealand’s leading disability services provider CCS Disability Action says a changeover of school transport providers has disadvantaged students with special needs.
New transport providers have taken over more than half of the contracts for transporting students with special needs. Some of the transitions have been poorly managed and students left stranded.
The Ministry of Education says that problems have affected up to 400 students with special needs requiring transport.
CCS Disability Action, Chief Executive, David Matthews said he is aware of several problems with the changes across the country and the process has been unacceptable.
“Students may have missed out on school and been transported unsafely because of recent changes in providers. This is quite frankly unacceptable. This process should have been a positive one where the Ministry ensured that all new providers are using fully accessible vehicles to provide for current and future need.”
“Whatever is going on behind the scenes needs to be managed. Students should not be disadvantaged by a change of providers. At the end of the day, the focus should be on the student. It is simply not acceptable for any students to miss out on school or have their access to school compromised.
Mr Matthews hoped that the Ministry of Education and transport providers had learnt from the experience.
“In many cases, existing providers and drivers had good relationships with students and their families. This should have been taken into account in the re-tendering process.
“The Government also needs to learn that when tendering, there are often wider costs and challenges which they need to take into account.”