SCHOOL TRANSPORT IN HAMPSHIRE - CONSULTATION

Submitted on 26 January 2018 by Wendy Davey

HAMPSHIRE SCHOOL TRANSPORT CONSULTATION

PROVIDE YOUR VIEWS ON PROPOSALS FOR CHANGES TO
SCHOOL TRANSPORT IN HAMPSHIRE
 

Hampshire County Council is inviting residents to provide their views on proposals around reductions to the provision of transport to and from school or college for school children and students, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.  You can have your say on the proposals by going to the consultation on proposed changes to the Home to School Transport Service and Post-16 Transport Service which runs until Tuesday 13 March 2018.  Also available online at www.hants.gov.uk/consultations is an information pack which sets out the County Council’s current position for the provision of home to school transport and explains the possible options for potential changes.  Also online is a questionnaire for people to complete and make their views known. 
HPCN works to represent the views of our members.  As well as responding directly to the Hampshire consultation, we urge you to get in touch with us and let us know what you think.  Your comments matter to us.  Please see below for HPCN’s current position on the Hampshire’s School Transport consultation, plus further useful reading.

HPCN CURRENT POSITION ON SCHOOL TRANSPORT (JANUARY 2018) 
HPCN always welcome the chance to consider new and flexible ways of doing things.  However, we will never agree with any changes which introduce blanket policies that limit the eligibility of children and young people with SEND to school transport provision on the basis that such policies would be unlawful.  For instance, a blanket policy impacting on children and young people because they:

live outside the statutory walking distance
holds an EHC plan
attend an out of authority school
attends a special school
have physical/ medical difficulties only

Or, a blanket policy which requires parents to arrange their own school transport if they do not wish to.  This includes:

Forcing parents to accept a mileage allowance or individual travel budget.
Expecting families with a Motability car to drive their children to school.
Expecting families to use a higher rate mobility component payment to pay for school transport.

Furthermore, HPCN expects Hampshire to consider the potential effect of changes to their transport policy on disabled people (both disabled children and disabled parents) which is their public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010.  

Example One:  There is no legal obligation to provide free transport for under 5s.  However, HPCN views that a blanket refusal would be discriminatory.  For example, if a 4-year-old attends a special school some distance from home and cannot access education without transport.   

Example Two:  It is lawful to charge young people of 6th form age for school transport.  However, HPCN views that young people with special educational needs and disabilities should only be charged for transport at a contribution set at a similar level to that of a bus pass for students who are not disabled, and Hampshire should consider that disabled students may have to travel further to a suitable course.  Not to do so would be discriminatory.

 USEFUL INFORMATION
Statutory guidance:

Home to school travel and transport guidance.
Post-16 transport to education and training.

Independent Support factsheet on consultations:

https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/independent-support/resources/independent-support-fact-sheet-12-consultation

Blog post from barrister Steve Broach on fair consultations:

https://rightsinreality.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/duty-to-consult-supreme-court-sets-down-what-fairness-requires/


 

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