Havering Council says it wants to give families of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) more flexibility in how they travel to school - as it hopes to cut soaring costs by £1.4m.

It will be holding a consultation in response to the Government's call for all councils to review their home-to-school travel policy.

Around 600 children and young people aged up to 25 currently receive transport assistance including taxi services in the borough, with costs said to be rising.

In a press release, the council claims that in some cases these services have been costing £200 a day per child, leading to £5.5 million being spent on travel to school - more than double the council’s initial budget of £2.7 million.

The council has announced it declare bankruptcy within a year.

In the light to these challenges, the council says the consultation aims at exploring cost-effective transport alternatives while ensuring the needs of every pupil are considered.

It hopes this could save at least £1.4 million over the next four years.

Cllr Oscar Ford, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Each person will be treated and assessed on an individual basis taking into consideration their needs and abilities; there will not be a one-size-fits-all-approach.”

The council is looking to expand the use of personal travel budgets and direct payments so families can arrange their own transport or escorts to accompany their children.

He added that this could be achieved through car-pooling, possibly paying a trusted friend or family member to take their child to school or arranging selected pick up points for collection.

He said: "We will continue to offer advice and support to ease the stress of finding alternatives.

“However, residents will be aware that the council is facing a financial crisis, so we'll, therefore, seek options that incur the least cost to the council while meeting the needs of the families."

The consultation is now open and to complete the survey, visit consultation.havering.gov.uk/education/home-to-school-transport-consultation/. The findings will be presented to the council's cabinet next year.