Details of proposed changes to home to school transport in Bucks revealed

Bucks County Council offices
Bucks County Council offices

Bucks County Council has published the findings of its recent public consultation on home to school transport.

The ten week consultation, which ended on January 4, asked residents and organisations for their views on how home to school transport services are delivered in the county.

Cabinet is being asked to approve several recommendations at its meeting next month which includes proposals to modernise services and making sure they are sustainable for the future.

The council claims that 'increasing demand on the home to school transport service is currently causing unsustainable budget pressures and proposals in the report aim to address this.'

It is proposed that there are no changes to arrangements for more than 5,000 pupils who are eligible for free travel.

Any revisions, if agreed, would only apply to children and young people who are not eligible for free statutory home to school transport.

The proposals going to cabinet for home to school transport services are:

> Utilising more sustainable modes of transport, including moving routes to the public network and reducing the amount of dedicated school buses

> Removing the option of free school transport for those currently supported under sections 508C of the Education Act 1996 (the Evreham Promise and the Ivinghoe Promise)

> Implementing discounted travel (subsidised) for Post 16 SEND pupils on public networks or another appropriate provision to replace the free of charge travel currently offered

> Extending the use of independent travel training to increase the ability of pupils to use alternative transport options

Mike Appleyard, the county council's cabinet member for education and skills said: “We want to provide the best possible home to school transport service for children in Bucks that we can, but rising costs mean we have to carefully consider the way we do this in the future.

“The proposals to be considered by the cabinet aim to offer a high quality travel service for pupils that is both safe and sustainable for the future.

"There are a number of options to explore that will help us to achieve this.

“Where changes affect families we will ensure these are managed in as fair and as considerate a way as possible.

“Thank you to everyone who took part.

"Their feedback has been invaluable and has been used to help us develop the recommendations.”

There were 2308 survey responses completed, of which 245 respondents reported they received free home to school transport due to their child having SEND.

Of the 245 respondents, 80 reported they have children over the age of 16.

Of the feedback the council received, the majority of concerns were related to the proposals to move school bus routes to public bus routes.

Concerns included travelling on buses with members of the public who were not DBS checked, public bus routes not going directly to school and public bus times not coinciding with school timings.

Full details of the consultation results and recommendations can be found in the report at

https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/documents/s130428/Report%20for%20Home%20to%20School%20Transport.pdf