Emotional parents of children with special educational needs are demanding to be involved in conversations over changes to school transport.

A controversial cost-cutting proposal to reduce door-to-door taxis, which transport SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) pupils to and from school, was pulled from discussion at a meeting of Dorset County Council’s cabinet yesterday.

Cllr Jill Haynes, who chaired the meeting as deputy council leader, said a report into the plans was“confusing” and in need of “re-working."

Anxious parents and campaigners staged a demo on the steps of County Hall before the meeting to protest the proposed changes, which suggested more pupils would have to get to designated pick up point and would only be offered taxis in certain circumstances.

It was estimated that the changes could save the council up to £1.04 million a year.

Mum-of-two Marie Ansell, from Bridport, said: "My son is eight and he has Down's syndrome. It would have a huge impact.

"He doesn't understand road safety and he could run into the road. We'd be looking at possibly missing the bus, the children missing school and me missing work."

During the meeting, Cllr Nick Ireland spoke out against the proposals, saying: "When I read a paper which contains phrases such as 'difficult to accurately predict', 'anticipated'...no 'evidence'...that sets alarm bells ringing.

"The impact on vulnerable children will be evidently high. It's tempting to describe this paper as a back of a fag packet calculation but it isn't even that good. It's bumf, in every sense of the word."

Campaigner Naomi Patterson, whose son George attends Mountjoy School in Beaminster, made an impassioned plea to the council not to scrap school taxis.

In a letter written to councillors, she said: "Parents like myself would love nothing more than to see our children be as independent as possible - sadly this is not to be. Why are they being punished for having medical disabilities?"

However, Andy Reid, assistant director for schools and learning, said a family will still receive a taxi service from home to school "if their need is great" and said all assessments would be done on an individual basis.

Following further debate over who would provide the assessments and what the possible impacts would be, Cllr Haynes pulled the item from the agenda.

She said: "We have not worked on the logistics and worked with parents. This paper needs to be re-worked and brought back to cabinet at a later date."

Many parents broke down in tears as the decision was made, with some still feeling their views needed to be heard.

Emily Bosher, from Bridport, is part of the Dorset Support Group for SEN Parents. She said: "The most vulnerable people are being targeted, we have to be a voice for our children because they can't speak up for themselves."

Miss Patterson said: "It was the right decision as they hadn't consulted parents, teachers or healthcare professionals. We hope that they'll get all of us sat down and work with us now."