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Consultation on home to school transport

Published: Wednesday, 13th September 2017

Rotherham Council is to consult with families and schools about its Home to School transport policies for students and children, including those with special educational needs or disabilities.

The aim is to create a modern, more flexible and sustainable service that meets the needs of children and their families.

Rotherham Council will work with families and schools to gain views on the service, its proposed areas of change and how future services could be delivered, after members of Rotherham’s Cabinet and Commissioners’ Decision Making Meeting today (Monday 11 September 2017) agreed the consultation would go ahead.

The Council is experiencing an increased take-up of its transport services raising the possibility of potential increased costs for future years which cannot be maintained in the longer term with decreasing budgets.

Possible solutions include a greater focus on personal transport budgets to enable families and young people to make their own arrangements for travel, providing more choice and flexibility. This could include contributing towards the cost of transport or making shared arrangements with other parents.

A further consideration is Independent Travel Training, where appropriate, to give young people skills for life that can be carried forward into adulthood. This involves training young people on how to travel independently in a safe and responsible way, along with a personal transport budget.

Any proposed changes would ensure the continuation of suitable, safe, home to school travel assistance for eligible children.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety Cllr Emma Hoddinott said: “We want to have a conversation with families about different options to support children who need help getting to and from school. Historically, the Council has depended more than other areas of the country on expensive solutions that also mean we’ve missed opportunities to help children to travel independently where that is appropriate. As budgets are cut further that isn’t sustainable, so we want to work with families now to ensure that those who need the most support receive it whilst others are helped to use options that perhaps haven’t been available to them previously.”

Jayne Fitzgerald, speaking on behalf of representatives from Rotherham Parents Forum, said: “The consultation is an opportunity for families to share experience and participate in the review. Shaping services through experience provides an opportunity for families and the Council to work together to find and create solutions for better outcomes, and to ensure the social and emotional wellbeing of all children and young people is at the centre of service provision. It is important that the voice of parents children and young people helps the Council understand the needs of families living with special needs and disabilities in Rotherham, and this is an opportunity to share what works well and how things could work better.”