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Scheme which could have seen SEND children walk a mile to get to school put on hold

WATCH: ITV Anglia's Liz Summers reports on the concerns of parents of SEND children

Parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in Northamptonshire say they are becoming increasingly concerned about plans to make their children walk up to a mile to bus stops to get to school.

The council was planning to introduce the 'pick up and set down points' initiative on Monday, 4 November. It would have meant some children would no longer get picked up and dropped off from home in a minibus or taxi.

The scheme has been put on hold until Spring 2020 but some parents are concerned that the problem will just resurface without a proper assessment of their children's needs and abilities.

Vanessa Jones says the council needs to treat every case individually Credit: ITV Anglia

"They've said they're going to pause it but what they need to do, they need to assess every individual child separately.

"We're not against them doing this, we just want to make sure they have chosen the children and the parents are happy that children have been chosen and they're able to walk on their own to school.

"My daughter would never be able to do this at the moment, they should have assessed her properly, come to visit us at home, to see how she is."

– Vanessa Jones, mother

Crisis-hit Northamptonshire County Council insists the move is not financially motivated, instead saying its focus is 'promoting independence for young people alongside operational efficiency'.

Northamptonshire County Council say the scheme will be paused until Spring Credit: ITV Anglia

"The whole point of this is not about saving money, it's not about making anyone's life more difficult, it's about increasing the ability for the children to take responsibility for themselves to walk to a point to be picked up.

"We will communicate with parents, schools and all interested parties to ensure that we get this delivered in the springtime, minimum fuss and make it a positive thing for the children rather than how it's panned out at the moment as not so positive."

– Cllr Jason Smithers, Northamptonshire County Council

Last month campaigners handed over a 2,000-strong petition to the county council after the authority paused its plans.

Some parents are calling for a full consultation process so they can raise any questions and concerns about the 'pick up and set down points' initiative.

The scheme was due to be launched on Monday Credit: ITV Anglia