Motability, Blue Badges and disabled motoring
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Parking at School

UdosdottirUdosdottir Member Posts: 34 Connected
After a change of parking arrangements around school, there are now no parking possibilities (even with blue badge) close to school, and for an hour around pick-up and drop-off they close off their blue badge parking. Is that legal? Or do we have the right to get better access to school?

Here's our background:

I have two children with CP in primary school and both have a blue badge. I bring both of them with a car to school because making the way without a car is a strenuous exercise at best, most days it's impossible. [On some days my son might feel strong enough to walk, so that I'd only have to push one wheelchair. But it's a sport exercise for him, and he arrives at school tired. And even without trying that, this week he tipped over in school toward the end of the week in the corridors without apparent reason because "his legs are so tired". And pushing two wheelchairs over potholed sidewalks is impossible.] And even if I could walk my kids to school, I'd then have to drive again to transport equipment like walking frame and sticks.

Now, during school drop offs and school pick ups, the gates to the school parking lot (with blue badge parking) are closed off. No-one can enter or leave. That's because children have to walk along, and most often walk over the parking lot. That was always a bother. My husband usually parked in the street for drop off, when our son was fresh enough to walk a short distance, And I would bite the apple and wait there for 45 minutes in total.
Now during the pandemic, to space out parents, the drop-off and pick-up period has been lengthened, so that in total, we'd have to wait for at least an hour on the parking lot (arriving 15 minutes before the half hour drop off period starts, and then leave not before 15 minutes after the drop off period ends, same for pick up. -- And the ground keepers, who have to open and close with a key, are only humans and as such no always on time, making it necessary to arrive at least 5 minutes, better 10 minutes prior, and count in as much time at the end...)

School agreed that this is a bit much to ask. (Both for us parents, and also for our kids. They already have a longer sleeping period than peers, and all personal care takes longer. In total they have 2h, after school, for relaxation and home work and then it's already bedtime routine. So waiting on the school grounds would actually hurt them quite a lot).

So, current arrangements are: I pick them up so early (they miss a good half hour of school every day - cuts into my workday and is not ideal but overall preferable to waiting for so long) that we leave before the school gates close. And my husband parks in the morning in front of the school on double yellows, and someone comes out to help the kids into school.

But now the parking rules are changing. Because so many people who were not eligible were parking on the double yellows around the school, the city council has issued resident parking cards, and there's no exception for blue badge.
So that messes directly with our drop off schedule, but also takes away a fail-safe if work interferes too much with early pick-up on an odd day.

School agreed to let the kids come in late to school without punishing them, so that they could be dropped off only after the gates open again. But my son doesn't want to do that. While happy to leave early when all that's being done in school is reading or being sat in front of the tele, he hates being late, because they get brain twisters in the morning which he loves. And also he likes to say hello to his friends in the morning. So he really pushed himself to walk on the days we tried it. But I don't like how he has to push himself so hard before a school day, he's bound to overstrain himself.
I also don't like the idea that they would be missing a full hour of school every day.
And I have to cut working hours again in that scenario case, either due to waiting, due to bringing them in late, or to drive after the gates are open again to bring in the equipment.(While my husband is dropping them off at the moment, that would fall onto my load because he has to be at work, too, and he earns the bigger salary.

So,my question again: It seems to me, more efforts have to be made for my children to access their school? IT doesn't seem right to me, that the best solution they can come up with is the twins missing so much school. Or are we the ones who have to adapt to the new situation? How and where can I complain?

Replies

  • UdosdottirUdosdottir Member Posts: 34 Connected
    If I can fire another question right after: I am hesitant to report the situation to the city councillors because I fear I might lose the right to pick up the kids from school early. Is that fear justified?
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,201 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi there I understand your situation and your concerns 

    Have you progressed this through the school governors at all or maybe the education dept . 

    I know you fear questions will be asked about missing school time 

    I dont know how you can resolve this but it does seem unacceptable but also the school have duty care for other pupils safety but also duty to provide access for your children 
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,516 Disability Gamechanger
    I would have to agree that approaching the school governors should be your first course of action.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • UdosdottirUdosdottir Member Posts: 34 Connected
    Thanks @woodbine and @janer1967. I did approach school, and all they offered was the early pick up/late drop off. The new parking scheme is initiated from the city council, and although it's a council school, it would seem they think it's got nothing directly to do with them. Do you have a suggestion what I should ask for? I am a bit clue-less as to what school could possibly offer. As you said: they also have a duty of care for the rest of the pupils.

    I am wondering whether I should apply for a resident parking badge and whether I have a right and have to go through the admin way - but wouldn't know how.
    Or whether I don't have a right, and would have to campaign with a Councillor. It seems to me that it's the city council who's failing us here, not school themselves.

    Or could school make pressure onto the council, maybe? Unfortunately our headmaster has already in the past shown to be very conservative thinking, and shuns away from any confrontation with government/council.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,201 Disability Gamechanger
    You say you have gone through school but have you gone through the governor's 

    Why not try your local mp 

    I'm not sure of any solution not easy when you dont know the area or anything 

    Also speak to their gp or specialist 

    I will tag in our CP advisor as well dont know if he will have any ideas 

    @Richard_Scope any advice from you here 
  • UdosdottirUdosdottir Member Posts: 34 Connected
    edited March 13
    Thanks @janer1967. No, I have not spoken officially with the govenors. But I don't even know what I'd be pushing for through school. I would like to be able to park in front of school on the street, and it doesn't seem that it is their responsibility. Or is it? -- I really don't know how those things work.

    I am wondering whether it is really legal for the city council to abolish all parking near school, including blue badge holders. So if anyone know anything in that direction that would be really helpful.

    About the gate closure: we put on a big fight five years ago. We went through govenors and city council and threatened to go to a newspaper. As a result, a new security assessment was made. But it concluded that school was right to close the gates during drop off and pick-up. So I don't think we'll be able to change anything about that.
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