§ Mr. McMaster
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what measures are in place to ensure that the inaccessibility of school transport is not a restricting factor in integrating disabled children into mainstream schools; and if he will make a statement. 692W
§ Mr. Forth
Parents of a child with a statement of special educational needs have a right to express a preference for any maintained school, mainstream or special; the local education authority must comply with that preference subject to certain conditions. One of these is that placement at the school would be compatible with the efficient use of resources, which could in some cases include the cost of transport.
The Government have recently introduced the school access initiative, which should mean that parents of disabled children have a wider choice of accessible mainstream schools. The initiative will help to reduce the need for long home-to-school journeys since one of the key criteria for demonstrating eligibility for funding is the reduction in disabled pupils' travelling times.