Merton Council


Home to School Travel Consultation

Description: 

The Council is reviewing the way it provides home to school transport as part of a council wide travel and transport review.

The vast majority of the Council’s expenditure on home to school travel and transport is on providing assistance for pupils and students who have special educational needs and disabilities.

The Council is seeking views on:

  • Home to school travel for statutory school age (5-16) children
  • Home to school/college travel for non-statutory school age (pre-school and post-16) children 

Our consultation will run from 16th November 2021 to 5th January 2022, with a number of ways to get involved and have your say, including:

  • Completing the survey below;
  • Participating in a Webinar. We are currently working in partnership with Kids First (the independent forum for parents of children and young people with disabilities or special needs) on this, and a date in early December will be advertised here shortly. We will directly email details to all families registered on our database, as will Kids First;
  • Sessions for staff involved to have their say and find out more and for children and young people in at least three of the schools where we transport the most children;
  • You can also email your views on the consultation to us at School.Consult@merton.gov.uk.

We welcome the views of residents, parents, providers, schools and other stakeholders on possible changes to the way we provide home to school transport.

Before providing your feedback, we would encourage you to read our School transport consultation summary two page summary consultation document and  Home to school or college travel and transport full consultation document, which contains details on the options.

Summary of results: 

Merton Council ran a consultation on home to school travel from 23 November 2021 to 5 January 2022. It took the form of a consultation paper, an on-line questionnaire, two webinar events with the parents’ group Kids First, and meetings with staff and students at three schools in Merton with specialist provision.

There were two main aspects to the consultation: First, what do people think of more ‘inclusive’ forms of home to school travel for young people with special educational needs - Independent Travel Training and Personal Travel Assistance Budgets (PTABs); Second, what do people think of the ‘discretionary’ policies, where the Council has the choice to provide travel assistance or make its own decision as to what travel assistance is necessary. The discretionary policy applies to children of pre-school age (under 5) who have special educational needs and students of sixth form age (16-18) who have special educational needs.

There were 155 responses to the questionnaire, most from parents of children with special educational needs.

In brief, the consultation found that there was scope and support to increase travel training to encourage more independence while a high number of respondents did not know of, or understand, personal travel budgets.  Most consultees were keen to ensure there would not be reductions in the discretionary areas of the home to school travel offer that could affect young people with special educational needs and disabilities’ ability to access school or college places.

The council has reiterated its commitment to provide support to families with children and young people with severe and profound learning difficulties and for students generally with SEND that are unable to use independent forms of travel or where their approved course of study is too far away to be reached independently.

Council officers are currently working with stakeholders in developing Merton's revised policy for new applicants for travel from September 2022, before any decision is made in March.

A paper to the council’s Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Panel was presented on 9 February, together with a summary consultation document and full analysis of the consultation responses.

Outcome: 

The policy was agreed by our Cabinet on 21 March 2022.

Consultation start date 16 November 2021
Consultation end date 05 January 2022

For more information about this engagement, please contact:

Organisation
Consultation run by: Children, Schools & Families
Contact
Tom Procter
Contact Numbers



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