Margate dad forking out £220 taxi fares due to delays in contracts for Special Educational Needs school transport

Del is paying £44 per day for Aarronn's taxi to school and back

A Margate dad is having to pay £44 per day for his son to get to his special educational needs school because changes in home to school transport have left him without a provider.

From February 21 changes were made to the school transport service for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) as Kent County  Council put in place new transport contracts to replace those that were coming to an end.

The authority had promised to let parents know by Friday, February 11 who their child’s new transport provider would be but some faced the start of term with no details or contact from the authority.

Del Moorcroft is currently forking out £44 per day on taxis to take 11-year-old son Aarronn to school in Deal.

Aarronn has a complex speech disorder, Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia, and has an education, health and care plan ( EHCP) and attends The Goodwin Academy due to the school’s excellent speech and language unit.

Del, who is a taxi driver, cannot take Aarronn to school because he has to take his two younger children to Bromstone primary. He says the last communication he received from Kent County Council was on February 9 to say all parents would be informed of their new provider by February 11.

He said: “My son was allocated Home to School Transport when he started Goodwin Academy last September.

“The transport was provided by Dover Royal Taxis, and we had no problems. He used to get picked up with two others and it was all good.

“I phoned the taxi company last Friday as KCC hadn’t got back to me to find out that they don’t have the contract any more,. So I emailed KCC again, still no reply. I even phoned the District Lead (Dover) | South Kent Special Educational Needs, but no answer.

“It’s a complete shambles, not even an email. How many others have been left with no transport? Why take away the perfectly adequate transport he had?

“I had to send Aarronn and get him picked up by taxi at cost to myself of £44, something I will have to do all this week, so it’s literally going to cost me £220 this week. Apparently if I keep the taxi receipts KCC will reimburse me but that’s not the point, it’s going to be struggle in the meantime.

“Other families may not be able to afford that upfront cost. Aarronn’s school called to advise me they haven’t a clue what is going on either.”

Del says the two children who had accompanied Aarronn in the taxi to school previously are now being taken by minibus and says he has been told some taxi drivers now contracted for the routes have been given addresses but no names for their child passengers and no contact numbers.

He added: “Other kids are on minibuses when they need their own transport and some are refusing to go because of it.

“Aarronn now has a different taxi driver each day. He did before but it was ok because he was with his two friends. Now he is on his own and has been finding it upsetting.

Kent County Council says issues have been caused a 20% rise in the number of children eligible for the SEN service, increased costs and a shortage of bus and taxi drivers.

The authority says that coupled with increased costs and capacity issues currently being experienced by the transport sector, it had been left with no choice but to do more to reconfigure the service.

County Councillor Karen Constantine (Lab) said: “This is a catastrophe for families and children. KCC haven’t listened to parents or councillors and children will suffer. I have had a number of parents who have contacted me. They aren’t aware of the new arrangements and are now being told, at the 11th hour to make there own arrangements.

“I have other parents whose children are being asked to quickly adapt to huge changes which will too much for them to manage.

“These children with extra needs are having some of their EHCPs breached and this will negatively impact their well-being and health, not to mention the parents and carers who also have other children to get to and from school and employment to factor in.

“We are trying to get answers for the shambles that are affecting so many lives.

“Some 5500 children across Kent have been affected. Labour is appalled with KCC who made these cuts and then also failed to stagger the process which would have been a reasonable way to make changes.

“Kent Labour leader Dr Lauren Sullivan has now been successful in calling this unfair decision in to an extraordinary scrutiny meeting. As Ramsgate County Councillor I’d like to hear from as many local parents as possible. So I can represent them at the scrutiny meeting.”

‘Deeply sorry’

Kent County Council has apologised for the delay in notifying parents and says the authority had not anticipated being in such a situation.

A Kent County Council (KCC) spokesperson said: “We are deeply sorry for the anxiety and worry caused by the delay in notifying parents of new transport arrangements for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

“Officers have been working hard to match more than 5,500 children and young people with new transport providers and we regret that, despite best efforts, there are some parents still waiting to hear who their child’s new provider will be. All remaining routes are now awaiting confirmation from contractors and we will continue to reimburse parents where they have to make their own arrangements.

“This is not a position we ever anticipated being in and we are immensely sorry for putting parents and young people through this trying time.

“Once provision is fully allocated, we will be conducting a thorough review of what went wrong and why to ensure we learn and put steps in place so this situation is not repeated.

“We understand there will be concerns about new transport providers and we want to reassure parents their child’s needs will be taken into account as assessed by a previous eligibility assessment, including if they need to travel alone or need a passenger assistant.”

The authority says it will refund any costs parents are required to make until their arrangements are finalised. If you need to make a claim, email receipts to [email protected] once your child’s vehicle is in place.

Find updates for changes to the service by clicking here

Upset for families still waiting to hear about changes to Special Educational Needs school transport


  1. Incompetence is a requirement to work in KCC. The responsible managers should be sacked. They will be the first to fine us for any infringement that we might make, so they must be held accountable for their failures. Some chance though!

  2. There are plenty of people who try and be taxi drivers, but Thanet council are slow short sighted. They are currently making the knowledge test as hard as they can possibly get away with, so people have to take it 5 or 6 times ( even locals who know the area). By that point most have given up and gone down a other route of employment. We are ending up with hour long waits for taxis or fully booked. Its effecting the whole area because people are thinking twice about going out because they worry about getting home at night or they cancel bookings because they can’t make them. Its also having a knock on effect to those trying to make to school in the morning via taxi and there not being enough drivers to cover school contracts. Why thanet council who are running a tourist area that relies on people being about to get round the area think it’s a good idea to make it such so difficult for people to get through the process I don’t know. Short term profit most likely

    • Ted

      Surely it’s a good thing that taxi drivers are expected to know the area ?

      When I use to use taxi’s I got so fed up of having to direct the taxi driver to where I wanted to go. Personally I see nothing wrong with having a tough knowledge test thanet isnt a big place. You mentioned tourism if I was a tourist and wanted a taxi and it was a 15 yr old car and the driver was asking me how to get where I wanted to go ! I would be thing what a joke !

      I also got fed up of the taxi drivers turning up in old dirty cars. Even nowadays some of the taxi’s are our 10 years old !.

      Taxi’s are driving around with our most precious things to us, our parents, children, etc. Yet they are alone to use very old cars. To me no car over 6 yrs old should be a taxi.

      PS by the way those orange lights that flash on and off are used for turning. Perhaps indicators could also be part of the knowledge.

      • PS

        Also I think all taxi drivers should pass the advanced driving test. They carry our most loved people around on a bog standard driving licence. That has to be wrong, because alot of taxi drivers have poor driving skills. I know I am class 1 HGV and the standard of driving in thanet is shocking and getting worst by the day

      • I used to be a taxi driver, but I got fedup with people telling me where to go.

      • The thing is Mr X there is now a thing called GPS. So an area knowledge test is more or less defunct and its not the knowledge of the area part that people are struggling with. It’s beyond pointless safeguarding questions that a taxi driver never will need to know after they have already completed a course.

        From the requirements you want I really don’t know how much money is available to the local taxi driver. And you would rather see a brand new car turn up to pick you up while young girls are waiting over an hour for a taxi late at night because nobody wants to be involved in it as the costs are too high and the process not worth going through

        • Ted

          Other areas around the country have an age limit on the cars used for taxis.
          Would you rather a young girl got into a taxi where the drive doesnt know the area in a dirty old 10 plus year car ?

          Perhaps the whole taxi licence needs overhauling, with modern cars and good local knowledge.

          Most other professional drivers have to be trained. Taxi’s are driving our loved ones surly the least we can expect is a good safe modern car and a highly trained driver.

          Some of the taxi’s in thanet are dirty old , brake lights outs etc and the driving standards are terrible.

        • Very well put Ted, you have made an excellent point. My main concern when I get a taxi is the fare and getting me to my destination safely, and as long as the car is clean I couldn’t give two hoots about the age

          • Susieq

            And that sums up thanet andy old sh*t will as long as its cheap and perhaps clean. !.

            I was behind a 17 year old taxi this morning 17 years old !!

  3. Is it too difficult to telephone the Goodwin, and explain you are going to be late each day, as you have to drop others in Broadstairs first. Then explain it is just temporary, and no doubt they are already aware of the situation.
    Hmmn! That’s a tough one, trying to use a phone.

    Ask for Simon Smith, tell him I sent you.

    • ‘Ben Dover’, ‘Anna Glypta’, ‘Jenny Talia’, ‘E.Norma Stitz’. This person and his imaginary friends is so inventive and funny. Wonder if he self publishes his own books??

    • Another stupid suggestion from a made up name, but we already no who you are on Facebook, fool!
      40 minutes late a day is not acceptable, child needs his education.

  4. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to send the younger kids to the local school in a taxi and drive the oldest one to Deal ?

  5. Surely you know someone local with children at Bromstone who could take your younger ones so you can then take Aarronn. No ideal I agree and not saying there is no fault at KCC for the problem you have, but I do get frustrated by people creating bigger problems when it could be a smaller one! Or is it the press creating more sensationalism to sell papers? (Not saying it is you Kathy as you have probably picked this up from another source).

  6. My daughter has been affected by this, not one email or phone call and no transport, they have split her from her best friend that lives only 10 mins away from me but yet my daughter is not on that bus, now my little girl has to be with people she does not know and will deeply upset her, I’m disgusted with KCC and they will be getting a complaint by me regarding the situation they have put me and my daughter in. And still to this day not heard a peep from them!!!!!

  7. It’s very poor KCC did not get this sorted out immediately they did the changeover. Many children with Autism find it extremely difficult to make changes and adapt to new surroundings/people. You cannot keep changing things around without plenty of warning so they can get used to the idea. It’s as if nothing has changed at KCC for decades and still children with SEN are being let down and failed by the authority. EHCP’s are still taking too long to be drawn up and just getting a diagnosis is taking for ever. Lessons never get learnt no matter what they say in the media.k

  8. I have said for months this would happen.
    We provide home to school transport for KCC, we have been chasing them for results of tenders, placed in January since 14th January, and kept getting told they were to busy putting out more tenders rather than sort the ones that had been submitted by their deadline dates.
    Up until Monday 14th Feb, we had only been awarded 3 contracts, the previous week before the half term, we were operating over 20.
    Because of the uncertainty, staff started to leave, come Friday KCC were chucking contracts at us, expecting us to sort it for them. No names, phone numbers or anything.
    We are trying to help, but KCC in a mess.
    There is a story about it on BBC news now as I type this

  9. I work for a taxi firm in Tunbridge Wells & on Monday morning my driver and myself traveled out to collect the children for school out of 5 children we had 1 all because the KCC can’t get their act together today is Wednesday and we’re up to 4 children the other child’s parents still haven’t heard from KCC but some of the parents don’t have time or transport to take their child to school the 4 I had this morning all live in a rural area & have other siblings that the parents need to take to school KCC have made a rod for their own back completely useless

  10. Moan, moan, moan. Doesn’t anyone give up whining any more? Services get restricted for a multitude of reasons. Get over it. It’s the new normal!!

  11. Woodchippers Can Hurt

    I like your sence of humour lol

    Moaning about people moaning as you are moaning about people moaning lol great

  12. He could drive them all to school if hes a taxi driver. Schools have breakfast clubs so he could drop the eldest ones off first . Not rocket science

    • No, he can’t.
      The youngest sibling has Stage 4 CKD, so breakfast and after school clubs every day is not possible..

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