Proposed changes from September 2019 to the policy on travel assistance for SEND nursery and post-16 students
- Period: 18 March 2019 - 26 April 2019
- Status: Open
- Audiences: Everyone
- Topics: Education, Transport
- Type: Public
Following the council’s cabinet decision on 6 March 2019 a six-week consultation will now run during March and April with various stakeholders, including: elected members; schools and colleges; parent advocacy groups; voluntary and community sector; and town and parish councils. Following this period, the results of this consultation will be analysed and compiled before returning to cabinet on 22 May 2019 for a decision on whether to adopt the above policy.
The council is committed to providing efficient, integrated transport services whilst ensuring that its statutory duties are met.
Any changes would come into effect from 1 September 2019 and will be applicable to new applicants, as with previous practice the removal of provision will be on a phased approach, protecting all those pupils and students entitled within the existing schemes.
Post 16 – mainstream sixth forms and colleges
We currently provide transport assistance for 200 post-16 students to mainstream school sixth forms or other further education establishments.
Of the 200 post 16-students receiving transport assistance, 59 students are paying the higher rate of the contribution of £875pa and 141 students are paying the lower rate of contribution of £142.50pa.
These students are provided with either a bus pass on a public service vehicle or a seat on a school transport contract. This is usually dependent on which type of further education establishment they are attending.
Transport entitlement is defined as “a student living three miles or more from their designated FE establishment”.
We do not normally offer bespoke transport solutions such as minibuses or taxis.
Post-16 – SEND students
We currently transport 144 post-16 SEND students to a number of specialist FE establishments for which no contribution is applied.
These students will travel to their FE establishment in either a shared vehicle with other SEND pupils, or a bespoke vehicle as a result of their additional needs or geographical location.
Before a seat on a vehicle is allocated, if appropriate the initial offer to parents will be in the form of independent travel training, whereby the student receives one to one training to give them the confidence and skills to use public transport. This has proven to have much wider benefits to the students and their families than just accessing college transport, through creating independence and establishing life skills.
The proposal to include SEND post-16 students will ensure a consistent approach across all post-16 transport, and also reflects a practice taken by a number of other councils.
Nursery SEND pupils
We currently transport 17 nursery-aged students, who all attend Severndale Nursery for which no contribution is applied. Nursery pupils who attend Severndale special school receive free transport if it is deemed appropriate because of their additional needs. These pupils are located county wide, which represents a logistical challenge in order to keep costs to a minimum.
Before a vehicle is allocated for a pupil, parents are offered travelling expenses at a pre-agreed daily mileage.
We will now commence a period of consultation on our recommendations for those pupils and students (SEND nursery and post-16). We would be grateful for any thoughts and comments you may have on these proposals, as described below, which if adopted would commence from September 2019.
Nursery age (under 5’s)
To withdraw providing transport for nursery/pre-school aged students from September 2019 for new applications. The implementation of this proposal would ensure there is no impact on existing pupils.
Post 16 (16-19 years old)
- To increase the lower rate contribution to 50% of the cost of the mainstream scheme from £142.50 to £437.50, maintaining the upper limit of the scheme at its current £875 pa.
- To expand the contributions scheme to include SEND post-16 students, in line with the mainstream scheme. With the proposed lower rate contribution of £437.50 and the upper limit contribution of £875 pa.
The contribution itself can be paid termly or annually. The implementation of this proposal would ensure there is no impact on existing pupils.
To have your say on these proposals, click on the 'How to get involved' tab.
The consultation will close on 26 April 2019.
Find out more about the travel assistance we provide for SEN pupils.
Following this consultation, a decision will then be made, and the council’s policy will be published no later than 31 May 2019.
If you have any comments or views on these proposed arrangements from September 2019, please use one of the following methods of communication to put forward your views.
We would also request that schools/colleges pass this information on to the parents/carers of any potential new nursery children or post-16 students who are due to start in September 2019 as the proposals may affect these students.
Passenger Transport Commissioning Group