Home to School Transport PlansPublished Wednesday, 4th April 2018
Council leaders are expected to agree to phase in updated Home to School transport arrangements over the next few months which will offer independence for users, and families better lifestyle choices.
Rotherham Council provides transport assistance to and from schools for any child or young person who meets the eligibility criteria, including special educational needs or disabilities.
Some of this assistance includes help with journeys on buses and contracted transport provision on coaches, minibuses and taxis.
Following consultation with parents and carers, as well as some of the young people affected, a number of improvements are expected to be agreed, including annually reviewing plans with families.
This includes, among other things, the introduction of independent travel training for those children where it is appropriate and the setting of personal budgets for both post 16 students and for families of children with special educational needs and disabilities. These allow parents and carers to arrange their child’s home to school travel arrangements to suit their personal circumstances.
This would cut down the need for expensive taxi journeys for individual children, which is costing nearly £3m a year for the Council to subsidise. At present, Rotherham has the highest proportion of journeys undertaken by children with special educational needs and disabilities in single occupancy taxis of any council in the country.
Damien Wilson, Rotherham Council’s Strategic Director for Regeneration and Environment, said: “Thank you to the families who have taken the time to respond to our consultation.
“We needed to hear from as many families as possible in order to get a full picture of what people want to see, and of course we understand that some families will be concerned about what the changes mean to them. By bringing in an annual review we can work with parents to ensure we are meeting their needs adequately where there are any changes in circumstances.
“And by introducing a personal budget for those where it is appropriate, people will be able to take charge of their own arrangements and work out what suits their family needs best. We understand that a number of families are keen to move to this kind of arrangement, so we will work with those volunteers to do so more quickly.”
The Council has also produced an updated Home to School transport policy and assessment matrix which will be subject to a period of validation before coming into full effect from the beginning of July.
Travel training, which has been introduced successfully in many other local authorities, will start to take place this Spring; following Cabinet approval of the report. The aim is to promote independence, confidence and social skills which could in turn open up opportunities to further education, employment and leisure.
The report goes to Cabinet on April 16.