Loughton mother banned from four-year-old son's school taxi

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Essex County Council provide taxis for children living a long way from their primary school Essex County Council provide taxis for children living a long way from their primary school

A mother has been told she would not be permitted to accompany her four-year-old son in a council-funded taxi to school.

Sarah Barnet, a full time nanny of Avenue Gate in Loughton, was unsuccessful in her efforts to get her son, Archie, into several of the town’s primary schools.

He has now been offered a place at Hillhouse Primary School in Waltham Abbey, which is six miles from his home.

But Miss Barnet was told she would not be allowed to travel with Archie in a taxi provided by the council due to the cost.

Miss Barnet said: “Essex County Council told me they could provide a taxi to take him to school but I wasn’t allowed to go with him.

“There is no way I will leave my four-year-old son in a taxi by himself it’s ridiculous.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “Transport is provided for children to be taken to and from school and this is not extended to parents being able to travel.

“To do so would incur additional costs for the authority and its residents.

“There would also be a problem with child safeguarding if the taxi was picking up multiple children.

“Parents might not be comfortable with an unknown adult accompanying their child.

“If we were to allow parents to travel with children where would we draw the line?”

All the taxi drivers used for such journeys by Essex County Council undergo a criminal record background check and comply with child safeguarding laws.

As an alternative to using a council funded taxi parents can be provided with a fuel allowance, as long as the cost was not more than that of the taxi.

Miss Barnet is set to appeal the decision.

Comments (6)

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5:39pm Sun 27 Apr 14

myopinioncounts says...

So, is a four year old is expected to go in a taxi alone with a stranger? How is the parent to know if all the taxi drivers who may do the run have been carefully checked out?
So, is a four year old is expected to go in a taxi alone with a stranger? How is the parent to know if all the taxi drivers who may do the run have been carefully checked out? myopinioncounts
  • Score: 10

6:20pm Sun 27 Apr 14

Villagecranberry says...

myopinioncounts wrote:
So, is a four year old is expected to go in a taxi alone with a stranger? How is the parent to know if all the taxi drivers who may do the run have been carefully checked out?
No way would anyone in their right mind allow this but there is more to this tale than meets the eye and this is the second time this mother has appeared in the news this week.

She is obviously rattling their cages.
[quote][p][bold]myopinioncounts[/bold] wrote: So, is a four year old is expected to go in a taxi alone with a stranger? How is the parent to know if all the taxi drivers who may do the run have been carefully checked out?[/p][/quote]No way would anyone in their right mind allow this but there is more to this tale than meets the eye and this is the second time this mother has appeared in the news this week. She is obviously rattling their cages. Villagecranberry
  • Score: 6

12:06pm Mon 28 Apr 14

It's good to talk says...

Good luck Sarah Barnet.
Good luck Sarah Barnet. It's good to talk
  • Score: -3

7:09am Tue 29 Apr 14

Frawgs says...

How can a taxi be expected to do a round trip to take her home again.? Drivers often have more than one school run to do. They may suggest she travels with her son and then exits the taxi with her boy and makes her own way home.
School taxis cost the council a lot more money than if you or I were to travel the same journey by taxi. I used to be in the trade and back in the day the drivers would squabble over the school run jobs. It was an incentive to get up in a morning.
Yes drivers are all checked and as my 3 younger children's school in Lincs was about 6 miles, they got a taxi but there's only 25 months between them, they started at that school when my youngest was 4, the next 5 and then 6 so never travelled alone although now my daughters are at high school 6 miles in the other direction and get a bus pass while my son is in his last year at primary and taxies alone. It really is no big deal. We had a 'to do' with one driver who told my son if he wasn't out on time he would have to go without him to do a quick job and pop back but the school don't let him out unless they see his driver. My son thought he was going to be abandoned .
Children should be brought up to be confident and this poor soul with his dithering mother is going to cause deep rooted insecurity. I was in the trade in the mid 1980s -90's and it was common practice, long before checking drivers if they were dodgy drivers, all I checked was they were licensed drivers.
Also back in my day, the office communication was my radio, these days it's hi tech GPS showing an interactive whiteboard in the office and the exact location of the cars. Stop fretting lady, it's safer than ever been
How can a taxi be expected to do a round trip to take her home again.? Drivers often have more than one school run to do. They may suggest she travels with her son and then exits the taxi with her boy and makes her own way home. School taxis cost the council a lot more money than if you or I were to travel the same journey by taxi. I used to be in the trade and back in the day the drivers would squabble over the school run jobs. It was an incentive to get up in a morning. Yes drivers are all checked and as my 3 younger children's school in Lincs was about 6 miles, they got a taxi but there's only 25 months between them, they started at that school when my youngest was 4, the next 5 and then 6 so never travelled alone although now my daughters are at high school 6 miles in the other direction and get a bus pass while my son is in his last year at primary and taxies alone. It really is no big deal. We had a 'to do' with one driver who told my son if he wasn't out on time he would have to go without him to do a quick job and pop back but the school don't let him out unless they see his driver. My son thought he was going to be abandoned . Children should be brought up to be confident and this poor soul with his dithering mother is going to cause deep rooted insecurity. I was in the trade in the mid 1980s -90's and it was common practice, long before checking drivers if they were dodgy drivers, all I checked was they were licensed drivers. Also back in my day, the office communication was my radio, these days it's hi tech GPS showing an interactive whiteboard in the office and the exact location of the cars. Stop fretting lady, it's safer than ever been Frawgs
  • Score: -2

8:04pm Tue 29 Apr 14

It's good to talk says...

A taxi driver should never be put in a position of accepting the responsibility of a such young child. It is totally unacceptable and child minding is not part of a taxi drivers job.
A taxi driver should never be put in a position of accepting the responsibility of a such young child. It is totally unacceptable and child minding is not part of a taxi drivers job. It's good to talk
  • Score: 3

9:04am Thu 1 May 14

Robert19 says...

This is an artificial situation created by the lack of school places in the local area. Why should a four year old have to take a taxi to s school six miles away? Apart from anything else their school friends as he grows up are going to live that distance and possibly more away. And Frawgs your condescending attitude - 'dithering mother ' 'stop fretting lady' is most unhelpful. Have a bit of compassion to her predicament. More school places!
This is an artificial situation created by the lack of school places in the local area. Why should a four year old have to take a taxi to s school six miles away? Apart from anything else their school friends as he grows up are going to live that distance and possibly more away. And Frawgs your condescending attitude - 'dithering mother ' 'stop fretting lady' is most unhelpful. Have a bit of compassion to her predicament. More school places! Robert19
  • Score: 2

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