Residents thanked for responding to the school and post-16 travel consultation
On 12 December 2017, Suffolk County Council launched a consultation to help find a long-term solution to providing affordable home to school transport.
In Suffolk, £21 million of taxpayers’ money is spent every year getting children to and from school. Suffolk County Council has already introduced a number of efficiency changes to the service saving around £2.6 million. Now, like many other councils across the country, the authority needs to consider making more significant changes across a number of areas, including home to school travel.
The consultation highlights the challenges faced with funding and asks residents for their thoughts on how we adapt to the changing education landscape in Suffolk as schools continue to become more independent, moving away from being historically under local authority control, with new powers to set their choice of admissions, adjust term dates and manage school travel plans.
The council’s current school and post-16 travel policies go above legal requirements, the consultation seeks views on changing these policies, giving us the opportunity to explore local solutions as well as three alternative options for children aged 5-16 and 16 plus.
Over 2200 people have already responded to the school and post-16 travel consultation surveys, and over 120 people have attended one of the consultation workshops to discuss the proposals and share feedback.
The emerging feedback shows that Suffolk residents recognise the difficult financial challenge, but there are a range of concerns about the impact the potential policy changes could have on children, young people, schools and local communities, some have also questioned whether raising council tax may help to resolve the issue.
On Tuesday 30 January members of the public have the opportunity to present alternative solutions to a panel at the ‘Have your say’ event taking place at West Suffolk House, Bury St Edmunds. Places can be booked from: www.suffolk.gov.uk/schooltravel.
All of the feedback gathered will be carefully and thoroughly considered by Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet in June 2018.
Suffolk County Council cabinet member for children's services, education and skills, Councillor Gordon Jones, said:
“We have already received an overwhelming amount of feedback, which demonstrates just how important the decision is that Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet will take in June 2018.
“I would like to thank everyone that has responded so far and encourage those that haven’t, to read the proposals and complete the survey at: www.suffolk.gov.uk/schooltravel. This is an opportunity for all Suffolk residents to have their say about how council tax is spent.”
The consultation is open until Wednesday 28 February 2018, full details about the proposals and how people can have their say are available at: www.suffolk.gov.uk/schooltravel.