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Home to School Transport: Survey of Local Authority Spend 2015/16

Ian Thomas, Chair of the Association’s Resources & Sustainability Policy Committee, said:

“Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide home to school transport for children and young people of statutory school age, with special educational needs or disabilities whose needs cannot be met in a mainstream school, and those who live too far from school to reasonably, or safely, walk. The results of this survey show that during 2015/16 local authorities spent around £1bn on transporting children to and from educational settings. This is unsustainable given the current financial climate and the growing numbers of pupils overall. Local authorities also have less and less control over the location of new free schools, and school term time which adds more pressure to already stretched transport budgets, particularly in rural areas. However, this is not just about finance, modern life has changed significantly from when the current statutory guidance was published and it needs to be reviewed to reflect current challenges and living arrangements.

“ADCS believes it is now time to review local authority duties in relation to home to school transport and that consideration should be given to devolving this duty to schools themselves as we move towards an increasingly school-led system. The review must consider the current universal offer to all those meeting the distance criteria to ensure limited resources are used on learners who would otherwise not be able to travel to school.

“The Association has shared these findings with the DfE and we continue to raise these issues in our discussions with the Department and others, as the review of the role of the local authority in respect of schools continues.”


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