EXCHANGES between councillors over provision of transport to school for children with special educational needs and disabilities led to a cabinet member being told they couldn’t twist another’s words.

Coun Mary Martin, the cabinet member for children and school attainment was facing the the borough council’s scrutiny committee. She was asked questions about a new policy where parents with children under eight, who live within two miles of school, and children over eight within three miles, would normally be expected to take their children to school themselves.

Labour councillor Chris Watts took exception to the introduction of the new policy intended to encourage an independent approach for special needs children.

He said: “ It’s essentially, 'get yourself to school.' It’s a bit like saying we want an independent approach to refuse collection and that approach is, if you live within three miles, you’ll have to take your rubbish to the tip yourselves.”

As Coun Martyn replied that she wouldn’t compare taking disabled children to school with throwing away rubbish, the committee chairman, Coun Bob Wright interjected: “I will allow the twisting of words in this committee, but not that far I’m afraid.”

When Mr Watts asked: “Are you saying to parents within that distance, they’re on their own?” Coun Martin said: “No, of course, not.”

She added parents who don’t automatically qualify for transport would be able to apply to the council, but "we want to look at the capabilities of the child, and not just whether they have a education, health and care plan.”