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Consultation planned on revisions to Buckinghamshire County Council’s home to school transport arrangements

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Planned revisions to Buckinghamshire County Council’s home to school transport arrangements are to be the subject of a public consultation.

On Monday 22nd October 2018 the Cabinet members of Buckinghamshire County Council gave the go-ahead to the consultation which will launch on Wednesday 31st October 2018 and last for ten weeks.

The consultation will seek feedback on options for modernising the service to make it more sustainable.

Currently the service costs £15.1 million and takes more than 9,000 Buckinghamshire children to and from school. Of the money, £12.7m pays for statutory provision for children eligible for travel assistance. The remaining £2.4m pays for transport where the County Council has applied discretion and agreed to support young people.

Buckinghamshire County Council says the level of spending is unsustainable and aims to use its limited resources to support those who need it most.

The review of the County Council’s transport offer would include:

  • Improving the mix of Council provided and commercial transport to provide more flexible options and save money.
  • Applying statutory requirements to all Buckinghamshire schoolchildren, which would include phasing out local free transport arrangements in Ivinghoe and Iver.
  • Requiring parents of post 16 Special Educational Needs students to contribute towards their travel costs.

There would be no change to arrangements for more than 5,000 pupils who are eligible for free travel. Proposed revisions would apply to children and young people who are not eligible for free statutory home-to-school transport.

Mike Appleyard, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills at Buckinghamshire County Council, said: ‘The finances supporting home to school transport are causing us serious problems.

Costs are rising which require us to look at how we can continue to get children to school safely. This might mean, for example, using public transport instead of dedicated school buses.

In many cases public transport and school transport use the same routes. We are looking at a number of options to reduce costs, which limit the need to increase prices.

I’d like to encourage feedback from our residents on how we implement the proposed options so that our future offer meets the needs of families, communities and schools. Be assured we will make changes considerately so that we limit the need to increase prices.

As part of the consultation Mike Appleyard will hold eleven face to face meetings with those who use the service and will also meet parents of SEN students.

Results of the consultation will be reported to the County Council Cabinet in March 2019 before a final decision is made.

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