Home to school travel assistance consultation launches

The council’s Cabinet has approved a consultation into the future of home to school transport services.

There are significant areas of inefficiency in the delivery of current arrangements, so on 20 June, Cabinet agreed the council could review its travel assistance policies. 

This is so the council can continue delivering its statutory responsibilities, improve outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and control costs.

The consultation, which covers home to school transport and post 16 transport for children and young people with SEND, launches on 23 June for 28 days.  

Councillor Christine Hulme, lead member for children’s services, lifelong learning and skills, said: “We want to run a service which supports the integration and independence of children and young people with SEND, promote environmental sustainability and secure the most efficient use of public resources.

“We want to get service users’ views on the current service and which options they would prefer in future. Please complete the consultation when you can.”

In the current system, many young people will travel long distances on their own in a taxi, which does not promote independence. A policy review could mean moving away from the traditional arranged transport for all as a door-to-door service and looking into alternative provisions, on an individual needs basis. 

The council spent approximately £3.4m on transporting children to school and post 16 establishments in 2021/22. The council currently provides assistance for 710 individuals, of which 520 are SEN. The cost on average is £5,769 per annum per passenger for SEN travel. The current service covers approximately 134 routes. 

Proposals planned for inclusion in the consultation include: 

  • independent travel training
  • a new travel bursary option so families can make their own travel arrangements
  • the use of collection points for transport arrangements which have historically collected and dropped off at a child’s home address
  • ceasing provision of travel assistance to faith schools or same sex establishments, where there are closer ones to meet educational needs 
  • introduction of a contribution charge from those in receipt of assistance where the council does not have a statutory obligation to provide free assistance to eligible individuals. The consultation will explore how any contribution fee should be structured and the level of any fee. Options could include a flat fee, tiered contribution and subsidised fee for low-income families. 

During the consultation, there will be engagement sessions with educational settings, community groups, stakeholders and service users, as well as public meetings in person and online. These will enable parents and young people to share their experiences of travel and transport to educational settings. 

  • 27 June - The Curve, William Street, Slough, SL1 1XY, 10am-12noon
  • 27 June - The Curve, William Street, Slough, SL1 1XY, 12.30-2.30pm
  • 4 July - Romsey Close Children’s Centre, Marish Primary School, Romsey Close, Langley, SL3 8PE, 12.30– 2.30pm
  • 7 July - Chalvey Hub, Ladbrooke Road, Chalvey, SL1 2SP, 11am-1pm 
  • 7 July - Chalvey Hub, Ladbrooke Road, Chalvey, SL1 2SP, 7-9pm

The consultation will end on 21 July. 

Have your say by visiting the consultation webpage.

Cabinet will receive an update on the policies in September, before a new policy is published and implemented in October. Operational changes will begin during the 22/23 academic year, with full adoption of the new policies in time for the 23/24 academic year.

Published: 23 June 2022