Following the announcement last week that Ruskin Private Hire, a provider of transport to school for pupils with special educational needs, has gone into administration, Cllr Tim Pollard updated council on the work to ensure that pupils receive the service they need and deserve.
He told the council that officers have worked tirelessly to ensure that new contractors are primed and ready to provide the service from tomorrow, when most pupils return to school after half term.
The full text of the statement is below:
Ruskin Private Hire has been one of the contractors we use for school transport for pupils with significant levels of Special Educational Need. We use a number of contractors so this contract affects only a proportion of transported children.
We were advised at the beginning of last week that Ruskin Private Hire had been placed in administration. We were advised by the administrator that they were going to continue trading while seeking to sell Ruskin as a going concern. Officers worked hard to support the administrator in this endeavour due to the service and commercial benefits of this plan, whilst in parallel continuing to mobilise our contingency plan.
We were notified late Thursday evening that unfortunately no agreement had been reached with a prospective buyer and the business would close. The Council’s business continuity plan was enacted and contingency arrangements were being put in place. This affects 255 children on 59 routes.
Today 96 of the affected children required transport to school. The Council was able to secure transport provision for 87 of those children. The majority of the transport was on time. We are only aware of one parent who declined to put their child on the transport provided which we are working with the parent to ascertain why? Tomorrow when 149 children return to school after some school INSET days today, we have secured transport for 100% of children. To support Ruskin staff we have signposted them to the new providers and we are aware that some staff have secured positions with the new providers.
I would like to thank Council staff for their hard work in ensuring such a strong position, and school staff and parents for their support and understanding in helping to manage this transition.