Home to School Transport Consultation – 2015

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Between 23 June and 17 September 2015 Warwickshire County Council consulted on a number of changes to its home to school transport policy. Over 1100 responses to the consultation were submitted including 1066 completed questionnaires. The consultation is now closed.

 

View a summary of the questionnaire responses here 

View an equalities monitoring summary of the questionnaire responses here.

On 08 October 2015 Cabinet considered the responses to the consultation and accepted the majority of the recommendations put forward. Cabinet did, however, decide that there should be no changes to the current arrangements for transport to respite care or for students aged 16-19 with short or long-term medical conditions.

 

Cabinet’s decision regarding the withdrawal of transport to specialist nurseries has been ‘called-in’. No decision will therefore have been made regarding this issue until the call-in process has been completed.

 

The full changes agreed by Cabinet are as follows:

 

1) That from September 2016 new applications for free transport to grammar schools are assessed against the statutory eligibility criteria. Free transport to a grammar school will only be available if it is the nearest school to home with spaces and other relevant criteria are met – such as the distance from home to school.

 

2) That students currently in receipt of free transport to a grammar school continue to do so until the end of Year 11 or until there is a change in circumstance, such as a house move. At this point their application would be reassessed against the statutory eligibility criteria.

 

3) That from September 2016 the annual charge under the Council’s Vacant Seats scheme for students living more than three miles from school increases from £660 to £750 (an increase of twenty three pence per passenger journey).

 

4) That from September 2016 the annual charge under the Council’s Vacant Seats scheme for students living less than three miles from school increases from £330 to £375 (an increase of twelve pence per passenger journey).

 

5) That from September 2016 the annual charge under the Council’s Post 16 Transport scheme increases from £660 to £750 (an increase of twenty three pence per passenger journey).

 

6) That the fifty percent discount for low-income families currently available under the Vacant Seats / Post 16 Transport schemes is retained.

 

7) That the charges associated with the Vacant Seats / Post16 Transport schemes increase each year based on the Council’s annual income inflation rate.

 

8) That with immediate effect the revised process for assessing the safety of walking routes is used to re-assess all walking routes to / from schools and pick-up points currently considered to be unsafe, and that the same process is used to assess all new applications for transport on dangerous route grounds. Where a route is reclassified as safe, free transport will continue to be provided until the end of the academic year the reclassification is determined. The revised process was considered by Cabinet on 11 June 2015.

 

9) That from 02 November 2015 the rate paid to parents transporting ‘eligible’ children to / from school or pick-up / drop-off points is increased to forty pence per mile where financially viable to the Council.

 

10) That pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan, who do not meet one of the other statutory criteria for free transport, such as distance, will be subject to an assessment to determine whether or not it is reasonable for them to make their own way to and from school. Where the Council considers following assessment that a child requires transport in order to access their educational provision, free transport will be provided. An assessment process will be drawn up in consultation with parents, Headteachers and other professionals. The revised policy would then apply to new applicants and/or students moving from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3.

 

11) That with immediate effect Exam Year Move Transport is no longer available to new applicants.

 

12) That students currently in receipt of Exam Year Move Transport continue to receive such support until the end of Year 11 or until there is a change in circumstance, such as a house move. At this point a fresh application would need to be reassessed against the statutory eligibility criteria.

 

13) That with immediate effect the automatic entitlement to Emergency Address Change Transport is no longer available to new applicants but the Council retains the discretion to offer free transport through its appeals process.

 

14) That students currently in receipt of Emergency Address Change Transport continue to receive such support until the end of the period for which transport was originally granted.

 

15) That where parents wish to and are able to transport their child to / from respite care and it is financially viable to the Council, that a direct payment in line with the proposed rate of forty pence per mile (for one return journey per day) is available.

 

16) That the Strategic Director for People or officers nominated by him have via the appeals process the power to authorise the provision of free or assisted transport and / or waive any charges in whole or in part in exceptional circumstances.

 

 

***The consultation is now closed***

 

Background-Information

Warwickshire County Council needs to make overall savings of around £92m by 2018. Each year, the Council spends around £15 million per year on home to school transport. The savings target allocated to this area of work as part of the One Organisational Plan is £3.7m.

As a local authority we currently provide free or assisted transport to certain groups of children with no legal entitlement to such support. The current cost of the discretionary element of our transport provision is at least £2.9 million. This includes our Vacant Seats and Post 16 schemes that generate around £1.2 million of income per year.

In a time of diminishing resources we do not believe this level of subsidy is sustainable going forward. Warwickshire County Council is therefore considering a number of changes to the current Home to School Transport Policy. These are as follows:

  • Transport to Grammar Schools
  • Charging Policy
  • Walking Routes to School
  • Direct Payments
  • Transport to Special Schools
  • Transport to Specialist Nursery Provision
  • Exam Year Move Transport
  • Emergency Address Change Transport
  • 16-19 Medical Transport
  • Transport to Respite Care

The changes we are proposing would save a maximum of £1.6 million depending on the options chosen.

 

Consultation-Details

There are two documents available for you to find out more about our proposals.

A copy of the full consultation document can be found here. There is also a two page summary of our proposals available.

Click here for a summary of the statutory duties relating to home to school transport.

We want to hear your views on our proposals. The consultation is open to all, whether you currently use the service or not. There are a number of different ways you can do this.

Our preferred option is for you to complete the online questionnaire.

Home to School Transport online questionnaire

 

You can also download a paper version of the questionnaire and send it to us:

Home to School Transport 2015 Paper Questionnaire

By Email transportconsultation@warwickshire.gov.uk

By Post – Education Transport, Communities Group, Warwickshire County Council,

Saltisford Office Park, Ansell Way, Warwick, CV34 4UL

 

The consultation runs from 23 June 2015 until midnight on 17 September 2015.

 

Find-Out-More

You can also attend one of the drop-in sessions detailed below to ask questions about the proposals. Please note that these relate only to Grammar School transport or transport for students with special needs.

Grammar School Transport;

  • Rugby High School, Rugby, on Tuesday 30 June 2015 from 4.30pm to 7pm
  • King Edward VI School, Stratford, on Thursday 02 July 2015 from 4.30pm to 7pm

Transport for students with Special Educational Needs;

  • Welcombe Hills School, Stratford Upon Avon on Monday 29 June from 2.30pm to 6pm
  • Ridgeway School, Warwick on Wednesday 01 July from 3pm to 6pm
  • Exhall Grange School, Coventry on Thursday 02 July from 3pm to 6pm
  • Round Oak School, Warwick on Monday 06 July from 3pm to 6pm
  • Oakwood, Nuneaton on Thursday 9th July from 3pm to 6pm
  • Brooke School, Rugby on Monday 13 July from 2pm to 6pm
  • Woodlands School, Coleshill on Monday 14 July from 5pm to 7pm

Additional drop-in sessions have now also been arranged for the early part of the new term;

  • Wednesday 9th September, 10am – 12pm, Ridgeway School (Warwick)
  • Friday 11th September, 10am – 12pm, Oak Wood (Nuneaton)
  • Monday 14th September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm, CHESS Centre (Nuneaton)
  • Tuesday 15th September, 10am – 12pm, Welcombe Hills School (Stratford-upon-Avon)

 

 

Supporting-Information

Home to School Transport – Consultation Document

Home to School Transport – Consultation Summary

Summary of the statutory duties relating to home to school transport

Appendix A – Proposed policy for the Assessment of Walking Routes to School

Home to School Transport, Cabinet Report, 11 June 2015

Home to School Transport, Equality Impact Assessment – Part 1 of 2

Home to School Transport, Equality Impact Assessment – Part 2 of 2

Home to School Transport online questionnaire

Home to School Transport 2015 Paper Questionnaire

 

Current-Policy

Warwickshire County Council Home to School Transport Policy

 

 

The consultation runs from 23 June 2015 until midnight on 17 September 2015.

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Warwickshire County Council's home for information and intelligence about Warwickshire and its people.

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