Council to consult on new school travel policies

Cheshire East Council has agreed to consult the public on a suite of policies for supporting travel to school.
The proposals would bring the authority in line with many other councils locally and across the country, who have already reviewed their school travel policies in accordance with national statutory government requirements.

The consultation will make clear what travel support the council is required to provide and seek views on what, if any, exceptions it should consider.  Any proposals for exceptions to be considered need to be supported by a clear rationale.

Within the policy there is the proposal to extend direct payments, so that parents who are eligible for travel support can make their own transport arrangements if this is a lower-cost option.  Also proposed is a new training scheme to support young people who have an education, health and care plan, where appropriate, to travel independently to school.

One example within the proposals includes, 8-11 year olds, who at present are given transport to school if they live more than two miles away from their nearest school – where in most other areas, that support is only provided to journeys of three miles or more.

Currently, children and young people in Cheshire East are given free school transport if their parents have a disability. Elsewhere in the country, this is not offered.

These changes, if ultimately introduced, would reduce the council’s annual £8.9m spend on school transport by up to £570,000 over the next two financial years, aligned with the council’s medium term financial strategy.

Councillor George Hayes, cabinet member for children and families, said: “I would encourage everyone to tell us what they think and provide suggestions on what exceptions the council should consider and why.  This consultation is an opportunity to influence the policies before they are adopted by the council.”

The consultation period runs from Wednesday, October 18, to Friday, November 24.  All the details can be found at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk  in the ‘Have your say’ section or by calling 0300 123 5012.

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