When your child goes to a special school, more often than not the local authority will provide Transportation to and from school – I believe that once your child reaches sixth form , then parents are asked for a contribution to this transport. Joshua is now fortunate enough nowadays to go to school in a taxi just with his driver and escort, so he no longer has a detour around the houses to collect and drop off other pupils.Joshua’s journey to school is around 30 minutes so is pretty good.
The journey to and from school is one of the reasons why we fought to change schools, as previously he was vulnerable during the 45 minute journey as the escort is not trained to administer emergency medication in the event of prolonged seizures, so should intervention be required, 999 would be called and he would be taken alone in an ambulance to A&E. This happened a couple of times and that was a couple of times too many. Much of the journey was in a remote, rural area and so mobile reception to call an ambulance was patchy along the country lanes that he used. Whereas the mobile reception en route to the current school is good and in fact, at school Joshua is nearer to A&E than he is at home.
This is One of my concerns for Joshua’s new respite provision, as it is over an hour away from home and school and so, once again he will be vulnerable during that journey. But we have no choice as there is now no provision any nearer to home. I had an email yesterday from the new respite provision, as Joshua has his first overnight stay there on Friday, to ask , amongst other things, that should he require an ambulance while in their care, should they take him to their local hospital or ours? I replied of course, that in an emergency, he needs to go to the nearest A&E department to get immediate treatment and that we will join him just as soon as we can. While a staff member will accompany him during the day, staffing levels at night are such that he would be sent to hospital alone, which is a prospect that terrifies me quite honestly – he would be frightened in a new environment and unable to communicate, with nobody there to reassure him or speak up on his behalf.
One of the downsides of transportation to and from school is that we miss out on the ‘ school gates’ support network, where ordinarily you would make friends with other parents that you see every day and when you share concerns and successes. Joshua has attended this school for over four years one and I really only know one or two other mums . As a parent governor I am trying to remedy this gap, by setting up a Drop in/ coffee morning where all parents/ carers are welcome alternate Friday mornings, to chat and share a coffee with other parents. The first one is next Friday and I hope that some parents will attend and we can start to build up a support network for each other.