16/10/2012 08:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Council's Staggering Spending On Private Transport For Kids Reaches £27m A Year

Council's shocking spending on private taxis for school kids revealed PA

A local authority is spending a shocking £27m a year on private taxis and mini buses to take children to and from school.

Kent County Council privately hired transport for 10,838 school pupils between April 2011 and March this year.

Kent Online reports that a whopping £31, 900 was spent on ONE child alone - ferrying the student from Sevenoaks in Kent to Lewes in East Sussex.

A private taxi was also used to take a child from Broadstairs, Kent, to Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria - some 347 miles.

The paper reports that the 'majority' of the money spent on private taxis is for children with special education needs.

However, parents are complaining that the amount spent is not reflective of the service given, and claim some of the private hire companies use drivers who do not speak English and who are not trained to deal with disabled and autistic children.

Guidance issued by the Department for Education and Skills states that all local authorities should ensure pupils' drivers and escorts have undergone disability quality training.

A spokesman for Kent County Council insisted that hired transport was only ever used as a 'last resort' and said that the council was committed to 'providing the most appropriate solution'.

"However, there are times when it is the most appropriate or only way to support the child's journey to school," he added.

What do you think of this? Are you shocked at these figures?