Next week, Council Cabinet will receive the outcome of an eight-week consultation about the way free school transport is provided to older students with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Council currently spends £3.2 million each year to provide home to school transport for this group of young people, including £610,000 to support 153 post-16 students attend schools and colleges.

The consultation includes proposals to develop a new system for determining the level of support required by young people with special needs, so that they can travel to school each day. This was designed to ensure that the most vulnerable young people continue to receive the most appropriate level of support.

Throughout the process, a number of engagement meetings have been held with key stakeholders across the city, including the Parent Carer Forum, Voices in Action and Independent Travellers. The Council has received 144 responses to the consultation, expressing a broad range of views.

Councillor Sarah Russell, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said:

“During the consultation we’ve listened carefully to the concerns of parents, carers and other local stakeholders about post-16 school transport. Thanks to the feedback that has been received, we’ve decided to revisit these proposals.

It’s important that we take our time to develop plans that meet the needs of young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. We intend to work closely with our partners as we look to develop a service that is both financially sustainable and fit for purpose in years to come.

I’m delighted at the overwhelmingly positive comments about our programme of Independent Travel Training. I will be recommending to my Cabinet colleagues that this initiative is extended so that, where appropriate, more young people can benefit from the freedom and flexibility of independent travel.”

Council Cabinet is due to meet at 6.00pm on Wednesday 12th July in the Council Chamber.