Cabinet to consider proposed changes on Home to School transport

  |  Published: Feb 22nd 2019
Mike Appleyard, image courtesy BCC
Mike Appleyard

Findings of the recent home to school transport public consultation, and recommended changes to the service, have been published today in a Cabinet report (22 February).

The 10-week consultation, which ended on 4 January 2019, asked residents and organisations for views on how home to school transport services are delivered in Buckinghamshire.

The Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve several recommendations at its meeting on 4 March 2019. The proposed recommendations aim to modernise services, making sure they are sustainable for the future.

Full details of the consultation results and recommendations can be found in the report at https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=124&MId=11076&Ver=4

Increasing demand on the service is currently causing unsustainable budget pressures and proposals in the report aim to address this.

These proposals will support young people by helping them to access education and develop their independence. There will be no change to arrangements for more than 5,000 pupils who are eligible for free travel. Any revisions, if agreed, would only apply to children and young people who are not eligible for free statutory home-to-school transport.

The proposals going to Cabinet for home to school transport services include:

How we provide school transport – Many school and public bus services currently duplicate routes. We aim to reduce this, making services more efficient and offering children and young people more flexibility in their travel options.

Phasing out two historic local transport arrangements - in Ivinghoe [relating to Cottesloe School] and Evreham [relating to Chalfont Community College]. Parents in these two areas who choose a school which is not the nearest appropriate one for their child, would be required to pay for transport. This change would mean fair and consistent transport charges are applied to families across the whole county.

Charging for transport for pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) aged 16-18 – In the future, parents of all children aged 16-18 years would be required to contribute towards their child’s travel. This includes parents of children with SEN. Students with SEN who attend college can apply for a bursary to assist with costs. Transport will still be provided to pupils with SEN which affects their ability to travel.

Mike Appleyard, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “We want to provide the best possible home to school transport service for children in Buckinghamshire we can, but rising costs mean we have to carefully consider the way we do this in the future.

“The proposals to be considered by the Cabinet aim to offer a high quality travel service for pupils that is both safe and sustainable for the future. There are a number of options to explore that will help up to achieve this.”

Mike added: “Where changes affect families we will ensure these are managed in as fair and as considerate a way as possible”.

The consultation was promoted across Buckinghamshire during the 10 week period, through local press, radio, social media, schools and libraries. Residents were asked to complete an online survey via the County Council website. They could also attend drop in sessions across the county, including two information sessions for children with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability).

Mike concluded; “Thank you to everyone who took part. Their feedback has been invaluable and has been used to help us develop the recommendations.”

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