How did we respond?
The provision of home to school transport is essential to enable some children and young people to access education, and to do so safely.
ASCL believes that having specific guidelines around transport for children with medical needs is needed, and welcomes this addition to the guidance. We would recommend expanding this guidance to include SEND issues such as children with autism, anxiety and mental health concerns that are not part of an EHCP, and to ensure that all invested parties are consulted in designing the travel plan to support children with complex needs. This could include, for example, seeking advice from expert clinicians to inform risk assessments.
ASCL members would like to see an improvement in the speed of response to requirements for transport over extended periods, particularly when this can be pre-empted. One of our members shared an example of a pupil who had a planned operation, following which transport would be required. The member was informed that the process would not start until after the operation, leading to a delay in the pupil accessing their education.
The lack of availability of SEND provision in many areas creates significant cost pressures, in both the cost of placements and in transport and assistance staff costs. This also leads to children being subjected to long daily journeys, which may negatively impact on their wellbeing.
Why have we taken this view?
It is crucial that school travel and transport is properly funded, and that investment is made in encouraging children to be independent. Consideration should also be given to the inclusion of young people in Post-16 education, to recognise the requirement for all young people to be in education or training until the age of 18.
Full response to consultation