Home to school / college travel assistance - consultation

What we're proposing to change from our current travel assistance policies

This consultation closed at 5pm on Monday, 18 September 2017

We are proposing to change the following elements of the Home to School Transport Policies adopted by Executive in 2014:

Changes to qualifying schools

  • travel will be provided from home to nearest available school with a place for that child, rather than to the nearest or catchment school. Where there are ‘pyramids’ of schools then that will be to the next school in the pyramid, rather than to the nearest school. For children with a SEN, it will usually be the school named in their Education Health Care Plan (EHCP)

Changes to age range criteria

  • transport will only be provided for children who are of statutory school age. We will no longer provide transport for children under 5 years old
  • students over 16 years old with an EHCP or a statement of special educational need (SEN) will be required to make a contribution towards the cost of their travel, unless they are from a low income family

Changes to the travel assistance offered

  • the first offer of assistance for middle and upper school pupils (ages 9 -16) will be a travel pass for a public bus or train, rather than supplying contracted buses or taxis.
    This can help ensure the continuing viability of public bus routes, which can then be used by all members of the public. Buses and trains also help reduce congestion and the number of vehicles on the road, as well as parking issues
  • where a vehicle is provided to a family through the national Motability Scheme, we will provide parents/carers with a payment to cover the mileage, in order that they can use their specialised vehicle to transport their child to school or college
  • concessionary passes will be charged at a cost that better reflects the actual cost to us of providing the transport. Concessionary passes are sold where there are spare seats on a council-contracted route. The cost for concessions in 2016/17 was £157 per term. Under the revised scheme charges could vary from £100 - £300 based on journey cost
  • where a boarding school has been identified as the nearest available school to meet the child’s needs, travel assistance will change for new applicants. In future, parents / carers will be required to make their own travel arrangements, for which appropriate reimbursement will be made. We will cover the costs when this is less than the costs of providing travel. Travel assistance will no longer be provided to parents/carers attending one Statement / Education Health and Care Plan review per year at an out our area school as this is a non-statutory provision. Where a Motability vehicle has been provided for the child, travel assistance will be by way of a mileage payment to the parent / carer to attend boarding school. If there are spaces on a bus to the boarding school provided through our travel assistance scheme, these spare spaces will continue to be offered to pupils who are not eligible for travel assistance, but they will be charged at a fee that reflects the cost to us
  • where it is more cost effective, we could commission the school to run their own bus instead of commissioning a private bus operator. Some schools already run their own minibuses. It therefore makes sense for the school to also use them for pupils to travel to and from school. The schools would receive a payment for this, which in turn would help schools to fund minibuses which are also used for other aspects of school life, such as field trips and sports training/matches