Agenda item

Thurrock Council Home to School Transport and Travel Policy Update


Councillor Jefferies introduced the report and stated that it proposed a change to the home to school transport and travel policy, which was usually the responsibility of parents, but was also a statutory duty of the Council for children that were eligible. He stated that this proposal needed Cabinet approval as it affected people across the borough, and stakeholders and overview and scrutiny had been consulted on it. He stated that one of the proposals was to implement a charging regime for transport to post-16 facilities for pupils with SEND aged 16-25, but this could improve physical health, open up opportunities for jobs, and ensure that they could access school clubs and activities. Councillor Jefferies explained that the new policy would not mean that free transport for all children would stop, and confirmed that each child would be assessed under the new policy, and would continue to receive support if they were suitable. He added that many children with SEND needs received PIP support, as well as a family mobility car which would help with their transport needs, but the new policy would also include an independent travel course to increase independence. Councillor Jefferies stated that due to the comments from overview and scrutiny, he was proposing the removal of recommendation 1.1.

Councillor Halden welcomed the report, and highlighted that discretion would still be applied to all applications, but felt it was healthy to encourage young adults to be independent, which included through transport. He commented that the new policy would be on a means-tested basis, but parents could still currently apply based on the existing policy. He concluded and hoped that he would see a reasonable response from the opposition. Councillor Coxshall added that it was good to see overview and scrutiny comments being taken into account, and changes being made based on their input. He stated that Cabinet listened to overview and scrutiny, and felt it was good to see the collaborative work between the two functions. The Leader stated that the role of overview and scrutiny should be that of a critical friend, and the majority of policies brought before Cabinet had been through the scrutiny process for their comment. He felt that the removal of recommendation was a good example, as he would have raised the recommendation as an issue if it had not been mentioned previously at scrutiny.

RESOLVED: That Cabinet:

Considered the proposed policy refresh to the 2016 policy and agreed to adopt the proposed refresh of the policy, with specific reference to the two areas listed below:

1. The implementation of a charging regime in respect of transport to post-16 facilities for pupils aged 16-25 with SEND. Pupils will be required to pay the full cost of make a contribution towards the cost of transport. This service is discretionary and the Council may charge for the delivery of such transport.

2. That transport be delivered, in accordance with legislation, only when there is no suitable school with a place available within the maximum walking distance from the child’s home (two miles for pupils under the age of 8 and 3 miles for pupils over the age of 8).

Reason for decision: as outlined in the report
This decision is subject to call-in


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