Agenda item

Post 16 Transport Policy Statement 2019-20

(To receive a report from Teri Marshall, Senior Commissioning Officer, which invites the Committee to consider a report on Post 16 Transport Policy Statement 2019-20, which is due to be considered by the Executive Councillor for Adult Care, Health and Children's Services on 29 April 2019)


The Committee received a report which invited members to consider a report on the Post 16 Transport Policy Statement 2019-20 prior to consideration by the Executive Councillor for Adult Care, Health and Children's Services on 29 April 2019. 


It was reported that the Council provided subsidised transport for leaners of sixth form age (extended to age 25 for learners with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND)) to a school sixth form, college of further education or other approved setting.   This cost the Council c£3m per year and a proportion of the cost (c£1m) was recovered through a charge to parents or students which was currently £570 per annum (£579 if paid in instalments).  Members were advised that the report set out the Council's proposed Post 16 Transport Policy Statement 2019/20 (the Policy) as required by section 509AA of the Education Act 1996.  This Policy must be published by the Council every year by 31st May.


Members were informed that the Policy continued to offer the same provision of transport as previous years and also proposed to keep the parent/student contribution at the same level as the previous two years.


The Committee was provided with the opportunity to ask questions to the officers present in relation to the information contained within the report and some of the points raised during discussion included the following:

·         It was welcomed that the charge would not be increased for the coming year.

·         One member expressed an interpretation of the policy as appearing to penalise young people who wanted to carry on learning.  It was acknowledged that the Council was following national guidance, and it was queried what conversations had been held with other local authorities on this issue.  It was noted that benchmarking of the charges compared to other areas had taken place, and Lincolnshire remained one of the lowest of its geographical and statistical neighours.

·         It was commented by a member that some of the designated transport areas (DTA's) for post-16 transport needed to be refreshed to tie them in with the school transport DTA's for 11 – 16 year olds.  However, members were advised that the post-16 DTA needed to be different as it had to include colleges and schools with sixth forms.

·         It was noted that the charge had been assessed as being affordable and it was queried how this was done, as particularly for those households with multiple children in post 16 education, this could become prohibitively expensive.  It was queried whether there was support for parents in this situation.  Officers noted this concern and continued to explore alternative methods of payment for families.  It was noted that the option of paying by direct debit was being explored and parents/students could now pay for travel in six instalments.  For those families on low incomes, bursaries were provided to sixth forms and colleges who could choose to cover the cost of transport for some students, which would then be paid directly to the County Council.  It was confirmed that individual circumstances would be considered, including any cases of hardship.

·         It was confirmed that Care to Learn was a Government-funded scheme providing support to parents aged under 20, to enable them to access education.

·         The Committee was advised that it was not a statutory duty to provide post-16 transport and the council did not receive any specific funding from the government for any post-16 transport (total cost to the authority of £25m per year).  It was reported that most councils did charge for post-16 transport.  There was a need to weigh up what the council needed to do, as it did not have sufficient funding to be able to provide free transport for post-16 education.

·         It was queried whether there was scope for a review in future to look at offering support to multi-child households. 

·         It was noted that once the policy was agreed, then officers would be able to consider individual circumstances on a case by case basis through its appeals process.

·         Members commented that they were happy to support this policy, and were satisfied that there was the flexibility to be able to meet those anomalies.  It was better to offer some sort of transport support rather than it being withdrawn.  However, it was raised that more pressure should be put on the government so that children were able to have the same opportunities.

·         There was a need for the government to acknowledge that rural areas, such as Lincolnshire, needed to make additional provisions for school transport when compared with urban authorities.

·         It was commented that it would be useful if a way could be found for the charge to be paid in 12 instalments, as this would help with affordability.  Members were advised that officers were currently working on this.




1.    That the Committee support the recommendations to the Executive Councillor for Adult Care, Health and Children's Services as set out in the report.

2.    That comments be passed to the Executive Councillor for Adult Care, Health and Children's Services in relation to the need for work be undertaken to allow parents to pay for the transport in instalments by direct debit.

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