The DfE want your views on the provision of school transport.
The White Paper said: ‘local authorities will work with schools and parents in developing local school transport policies, giving schools the opportunity to provide school transport services where that makes sense locally’.
We know that LAs have been managing increases in costs and demand for SEN transport (low volume/high cost) and have been making significant efforts to improving efficiency but have also had to cut back on some discretionary arrangements.
We think there may be some opportunities with more collaborative planning and with a more mixed model of provision (whether that is by LA/School partnerships, MATs, Diocese, parent and community groups) to retain the focus on value for money but enable the system to be more responsive to the needs of pupils, parents and schools and for example, in some cases improve the quality or comprehensiveness of the offer within the constraints of the current funding regime. See the case study below as an example.
The DfE are interested to hear about any examples or views you have on the provision of school transport via the questions below.
- Has your school or multi academy trust provided home to school transport for students? What form did it take and what was the background to you getting involved?
- What costs were involved? Was it more or less expensive than the LA provision? If more, what was the added value?
- Are there other ways you envisage your schools could more actively contribute to providing transport (either as part of a mixed economy of LA/school or LA/MAT transport) or even taking control of providing transport?
- What are the obstacles from your perspective to Academies and MATs contributing to provision? Either legally or in terms of capacity, expertise, appetite etc. – local circumstances – high cost/low volume?
- What models could you envisage working?
- Does this policy intention work better or worse for Special Schools?
- What would incentivise you or your Academies to get involved – including non- financial and educational benefits? How could it be made a sustainable and attractive proposition?
- How would you see the transfer/devolving of funding working? Would you see any issues around ensuring sufficient (or ‘reasonable’) funds were passed on, what vfm tests would need to be applied?
- Is there anything else you would like to say?