County calls for more school travel escorts for children with special needs

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West Sussex County Council is looking for more to people join its team of school escorts.

The escorts assist children and young people with special needs during their journeys to and from schools around the county, travelling in mini buses, cars or taxis.

The county council is currently recruiting casual staff to join the school escort team, to provide support and cover when permanent staff members are unable to work.

Joanne Carpenter has been working as a school escort for seven years, starting out as a casual member of staff before being made permanent last year.

She said: “I love what I do. This service makes a real difference to children and young people with special needs as well as their families.

“Our job is to get them from home to school – and back again – ensuring they are safe and happy.

“It is an early start – I’m met by the driver at around 7.15am, but then we usually finish by 9am and that’s it until the afternoon.

“It’s a role that’s very easy to fit around my other commitments and it’s varied. No two children are the same.”

Councillor Jeremy Hunt, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Joanne and her colleagues make a huge difference to the lives of families across West Sussex.

“We want to ensure children – all children – across the county are able to enjoy a good education, and to be able to offer this service is incredibly important.

“It gives parents peace of mind that their children are able to travel to school safely.

“While we do have permanent staff who work as school escorts, having a strong bank of casual staff is absolutely vital to the smooth running of the service.”

To find out more about the role, what it involves and how to apply, please visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/jobs and search ‘school escort’.

If you think your child may require assistance for travelling to and from school, information is available at www.westsussex.gov.uk/schooltransport.

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