The Government has now published their response following the submission of everyone’s views on their home to school travel and transport policy proposals.
The introduction to the document says:
“The Home to School Travel and Transport Guidance is statutory guidance. This means that local authorities are under a duty to have regard to it when carrying out their duties in relation to home to school travel and transport, and sustainable travel. The aim of the guidance is to outline the statutory requirement and then go on to discuss the ways in which this can be delivered and the discretionary powers that local authorities can use. There has been no change to school transport legislation and the associated duties continue to rest with local authorities.
The revised guidance has been updated from the 2007 version to reflect the changes to the education landscape since then. In particular, the widening of the academies programme and increasing pressures on local authority budgets, alongside the government wide commitment to reduce prescription wherever
The Department for Education (DfE) consultation ran for 10 weeks, 25 March 2014 until 3 June 2014. Completion was via e-consultation portal, email or post. The consultation process also involved meeting with some key stakeholders to understand their issues and ensure full understanding of their feedback. The consultation received 80 responses including Greenwich Parent Voice, who were represented by a response from the Voluntary Sector Group Network Greenwich.
This document outlines the key findings, the department’s response to consultation comments and suggestions and the plan going forward.
Respondents additional comments:
In this section some key themes emerged:
40% of respondents made comments relating to SEN/Disability/Health
A significant number of these were requesting clarity on how Education Health and Care Plans related to the home to school transport provision.
One respondent raised the issue of health conditions and how these challenges were not addressed by the guidance.
A number requested clarity on parental responsibility and an emphasis that the needs of a child do not always equate to what is desired by the parent.
Clarification of safeguarding requirement and equality training.
Rural challenges and in particular that the distance cap on extended rights unfairly disadvantages those living in rural areas.
Clarity around pick up point arrangements.
Clarity around if a school can be charged by a local authority when a school
changes session times.
A number of respondents used this question to suggest changes to the legislation,
The policy should stretch from 0-25 in the same way that SEN policy does.
Provision of Home-to-School transport should be a means tested provision.
There should be a fundamental universal entitlement to free or reduced cost transport for young people.