Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 19th May 2016
Title of Item/Report
Home to School Transport Policy
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report that detailed proposed changes to the Home to School Transport Policy and consultation period for the changes. The Council's Home to School Transport Policy was developed as required by the Education Act 1996 and amended as required by the Education and Inspections Act 2006. The policy, produced in 2011, was in line with statutory guidance as set out in 2010.

Local Authorities had statutory duties in relation to home to school transport. They must:

- promote the use of sustainable travel and transport
- make transport arrangements for eligible children.

In July 2014 the Department for Education published statutory guidance for local authorities. The draft Home to School Transport Policy that was the subject of this report had been produced in line with this guidance. If approved for consultation there would be a further report to Cabinet in July 2016, outlining the responses to the consultation. If the policy was approved and adopted at that point, it would replace the current Home to School Transport Policy (2011) for all admissions to schools from September 2017.

All admissions to schools prior to September 2017 would be subject to the existing Home to School Transport Policy (2011), acknowledging that parents make school choices on, amongst other things, the home to school transport arrangements for a particular school, and that these arrangements should therefore continue until the child concludes their education at that school or chooses to move to another school. This was consistent with what was described as good practice in the statutory guidance for local authorities 2014. The presentation of this policy to Cabinet and the associated consultation period at this time also ensured that it does not coincide with any admissions round for school places or consultation on the determination of admissions arrangements. Details of the changes due to the new statutory guidance were provided.

The formal 28 working day (excluding school holidays) consultation process would take place between 20.05.16 and 05.07.16 and would consist of meetings and engagements with key stakeholders through on-line consultation. Key stakeholders include elected members, parents, headteachers and principals, governing bodies, schools forum, academy trusts, diocesan authorities and neighbouring local authorities. Feedback would be included in the report back to Cabinet in July 2016. Over the consultation period, officers would also take the opportunity to consult with other local authorities to establish best practice with regard to the appeals process. This would be reported back to Cabinet in July 2016.

RESOLVED:-

1. The draft Home to School Transport Policy (Appendix 1 attached) be approved.

2. The requisite 28 day formal consultation on the policy be approved.
Reasons for the Decision
The draft Home to School Transport Policy would reflect the most current national statutory guidance and would ensure that the local authority position was to support home to school transport for eligible children as set out in the statutory guidance. The proposed consultation would ensure that the Council meets the statutory expectation as included in the guidance of a consultation period of 28 working days and will ensure that parents, carers and key stakeholders had the opportunity to comment upon the proposed policy, changes to current practice and timeline for the implementation of changes.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
None
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
None
Details of any Dispensations
N/A
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight, 27th May 2016
Attachment

Date of Publication: 23 May 2016


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