Special needs pupils' taxis forgotten

Last updated 13:29 04/02/2013

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Porirua

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A Porirua special needs school opened without its local students after the winner of a new Education Ministry-funded taxi contract failed to pick them up on time.

Mahinawa Specialist School teachers were missing 15 Porirua students on the first day of the term this morning, after they were not delivered by Wellington Combined Taxis.

The Education Ministry, who funds pupils’ transport to the school, this year changed the school’s taxi provider from local Porirua Taxis, who had always held the contract before.

About 15 of its 61 students were effected by the ‘‘teething problems’’, with parents instead dropping about 10 at school themselves, and five did not arrive.

Acting principal Sue McLean said the issue had been resolved by midday, following a glitch in the transfer between providers.

‘‘They have assured me that runs will be as normal by this afternoon. It is a priority for the company, they said.’’

Students at the school are aged between 5 and 21 years’ old, and have intellectual, physical, emotional or behavioural disabilities which prevent then from learning in mainstream schools.

Wellington Combined Taxis chief executive Lynne Hayman said the company was still investigating ‘‘teething issues’’ that occurred in runs within the Porirua school cluster.

The taxi company only just won the ministry tender to deliver and collect students within the Porirua area this year, but it was ‘‘very experienced’’ in doing so for hundreds of students within Wellington.

‘‘You can always expect some teething issues when you start a new school term and year.

‘‘But these are precious cargo and we have to make sure they get to school on time.’’

 

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- The Dominion Post

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