Changes to home to school transport

All staff
An update in advance of the council’s Cabinet meeting on 19 June

You will be aware of the recent consultation about our home to school transport policy which closed at the end of April.

Thanks to those of you who took the time to respond.

We have been carefully considering your feedback and a paper summarising the responses is going to be considered by our Cabinet on 19 June. The paper will include a number of recommendations about whether or not to implement the proposed changes and, if any are to be implemented, when this should happen.

In advance of the Cabinet meeting we thought it would be helpful to remind you of what was proposed. Importantly, we also wanted to set out what has not been proposed.

What was proposed for post-16 students

  • The discontinuation of the provision of free transport to students with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • The ending of subsidised transport to The Henley College.

We are not proposing to end council-provided transport if it is the only way a student can get to school or college. We have a legal obligation to provide this service but we do propose to levy a charge for it.

We recognise that families with a child who has special educational needs and disabilities and is due to enter post-16 education from September 2018 have already started to make decisions about schools or colleges for next term, and therefore recommend to that Cabinet consider introducing this change to the home to school transport policy from September 2019. 

What was proposed for statutory school age children (5 – 16 years)

  • Making it explicit that children under statutory school age are not covered by the council’s home to school transport policy.
  • Clarifying that transport will only be provided for the journeys between a home and school.
  • Defining the circumstances in which the council will provide free transport to alternative providers.
  • Excluding free transport to after school activities from the home to school transport policy.
  • Increasing charges for the ‘spare seat’ scheme.

We are not proposing to only provide transport to children with SEND when the journey is over the statutory walking distance. Entitlement to transport assistance will continue to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Changes proposed would bring the council in line with our legal obligations and what is delivered in most of the rest of the country.

The full Cabinet paper will be published on the 12 June on our public site.