I have decided to start a monthly newsletter to keep you all updated with the work Sentas is doing, so welcome to the first Sentas newsletter July 2017!!
Hello my name is Gavin, and I set up Sentas (Special Educational Needs Transport Advocacy Service) as a non-profit Community Interest Company in February 2017. I have three children and I am the childcare provider three days a week. Those of you that have called Sentas in the week will sometimes have heard my kids in the background. I am available for calls all week, I tend to put Peppa Pig on to distract the children while discussing cases.
I work on Sentas cases, reports and other Sentas work, on the two days the children are at nursery, in the evenings, and at weekends! Sentas really is my passion!
Prior to Sentas I worked for a SENDIASS service for 18 months and noticed there was an issue with Home to School/college transport in my area. I decided to investigate the problem nationally. This led me to take the plunge and set up Sentas to help tackle the transport issues!
Sentas is a free service to parents and young people. Sentas provides advice and advocacy on issues surrounding home to school/college transport.
Our aims are to:
- Help parents and young people appeal home to school/college transport decisions by Local Authorities refusing transport assistance.
- Provide parents and young people with information around home to school/college transport, to help empower families.
- To campaign for change, why should Local Authorities continue to be allowed to make transport decisions that do not comply with current legislation?
- To actively challenge poor policies. Each Local Authority’s home to school/college transport policy should comply with current guidance and legislation.
- We will challenge incorrect areas of policy where we find it, until every policy is 100% correct! This is obviously a massive target, some people may say its unachievable, but we have to try!
Sentas is independent rather than impartial!
One of my pet hates is advocacy services that say they are impartial! Sentas is independent not impartial! If I take a case and believe either you as a young adult or your child is wrongly being refused home to school or college transport, I am not impartial. I am on your side, and will help you fight the decision!
Do you need our help?
Do you need help with issues around home to school or college transport? If so contact us:
email: [email protected]
Tel: 07986 768085
Like our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/sentas6
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sentas6
June was a very busy month for us! In June Sentas has:
- Taken on 17 cases helping parents and young people challenge home to school transport decision from the Local Authorities, which included submitting one case to the Local Government Ombudsman.
- Written a comprehensive report on Motability cars, DLA and PIP and their effects on Home to School/College Transport: https://sentas.co.uk/motability-cars-dla-and-pip-and-their-effects-on-sen-home-to-schoolpost-16-transport-eligibility/
- Approached three Local Authorities, Essex, Gloucestershire and Rochdale Councils with evidence from our Motability report asking them to amend their transport policies to remove statements about Motability cars.
- Worked for 2 parent groups, in the West Midlands and London, reviewing transport policies and working on strategy in making changes.
Successful outcomes in June 2017
A lot of our cases are still ongoing, but some of our success included:
- A taxi being arranged for a child, where the LA had stated the parent must accompany the child on public transport.
- A taxi being arranged for a child, where the LA were insisting the parents take the child to school in their own car.
- Transport costs paid for a post 16 by the LA, where they had previously stated the college choice was parental preference.
- No Sentas cases lost in June!
- Every one of the 3 Local Authorities we approached, (Essex, Gloucestershire and Rochdale Council), regarding statements in their transport policies about Motability cars, agreed to remove the statements from their policies!
Sentas is making a difference!
Plans for July 2017
Our plans for July are:
To work with more parent groups, providing information, helping with cases and reviewing more transport policies.
To support more parents and young people challenge LA transport assistance decisions.
Persuade more LA’s to remove statements about Motability cars from their policies.
Write a report on post 19 home to education transport assistance charges, are you being incorrectly charged by your Local Authority?
How Sentas is funded
Sentas is not currently funded by grants, the work we do often challenges Local Authorities which means many funders are not keen to provide us with funding or grants.
We rely on donations from the public and service users to allow us to continue the work we do. Can you help Sentas, by either a monthly or one off donation?
If so you can donate:
On our website: www.sentas.co.uk/donate
Or via our Golden Giving Page: www.goldengiving.com/wall/sentas
Your donations will help Sentas by:
- Helping with our Website, email and helpline running costs:
- Allowing Sentas to support parent support groups across England, providing information, attending meetings and giving talks to parent groups.
- Allowing time to be spent working on individual cases and reviewing policies, challenging Local Authorities and campaigning for change!
Firstly, Sentas would like to thank all the parents and children we have been able to help so far! You are the reason I continue to work so hard to make changes for the better, and to try and make a difference!
Sentas would also like to thank the services we added to our useful service directories in June, each one of the services added has made an annual donation to help support our cause! If you run a service that is accessible for people with disabilities and would like to join our directory, please contact us: [email protected]
The services we added in June are:
Simply Hairlicious – Accessible mobile hairdresser in Newbury, Berkshire www.simplyhairlicious.co.uk
Helen Bartlett Photography – Accessible family photographer in North Londonwww.helenbartlett.co.uk
Accessible family photographer in Somerset www.madeportraits.com
Accessible trampolines www.capitalplay.co.uk