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School and post-16 travel consultation

Our consultation on proposals to change school and post-16 travel policies ran from Tuesday 12 December 2017 to Wednesday 28 February 2018.

Latest information

The decision on the future of school and post-16 travel, made by Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet on 19 June 2018 has been considered by the Scrutiny Committee and the decision stands.

The decision has been made in accordance with Scrutiny Procedure Rules. The new school and post-16 travel policy will be in place from September 2019.

Councillor Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills at Suffolk County Council, said:

"The right decision on school and post-16 travel has been made. There can be no doubt this is one of the most difficult decisions the council has had to take. I know some are not happy with the recommendations for change, but the fact is, as we clarified at the Scrutiny meeting, the correct process has been followed. It is now important we focus our time on implementing the new policy so we have a school and post-16 travel service which is affordable, sustainable, and able to meet the growing future demands in Suffolk."

Following a major review the recommendations agreed by Cabinet to be implemented on a phased bases include:

  • Providing children aged 4-16 years old with transport to their nearest school with an available place, but phasing in the policy from September 2019. This would only apply to children starting a new school, or moving home, and would be based on the current minimum distance criteria (i.e.: over 2 miles for those under 8 years old and 3 miles or over for 8-16 year olds) (Option 2 from the consultation)
  • Giving priority to Suffolk schools, allowing those whose nearest school is over the county boundary the option to choose transport to their nearest Suffolk school if they meet the criteria (an enhancement to Option 2 of the consultation)
  • Providing travel for 4 year olds, known as ‘rising 5s’ (an enhancement to Option 2 of the consultation)
  • Requiring parents whose children qualify for funded travel to opt in each year, reducing the number of seats paid for by the taxpayer but not used
  • Offering students who are nearest to a three-tier school the option of travel to the nearest two-tier school, if they meet the criteria
  • Retain the current Post-16 Travel policy, (in line with Option 3 from the consultation)
  • Offering unallocated seats on school buses for pre and post-16 students to buy on a first come, first served basis at £750 in September 2019 with phased in increases of £30 per term (£90 per year) to reduce the public subsidy Suffolk County Council provides.
  • Continue with the current cost increase of £10 per term (£30 per year) for unallocated seats to pre and post-16 students with special educational needs (in September 2019 this will be £690)
  • Implementing a revised individual exceptions policy for both school and post-16 travel
  • Working with schools and communities at a local level to implement a range of local solutions, e.g.: changing school start and finish time, putting in place hub collection points, ride and stride schemes and increasing the size of the vehicles used.
  • Agreeing the anticipated overspend in the 2018/19 budget will be funded from the council’s reserves
  • Providing an additional £3.025 million for the school travel budget from 2019/20 onwards. This will help the service cope with increasing demand forecast in the next decade
  • Allocating £4.7 million from the council’s reserves to fund the new policy being phased in over seven years and reduce impact on families
  • Reviewing the inflation and demand pressures annually
  • Continuing to implement a series of efficiency savings to reduce the cost of transporting children with special education needs
  • Establishing a group of stakeholders to monitor the impact of the new policy

Read the full details of the committee paper for the cabinet meeting on Tuesday 19 June 2018. 

Who to contact


From Tuesday 12 December 2017 to Wednesday 28 February 2018 we are asking for views on proposed changes to school and post-16 travel policies in Suffolk.

Suffolk is facing a huge challenge. The school and post-16 travel service is no longer affordable and capable of meeting the needs of the growing demand driven by new housing and schools, and the increasing transport needs for those with special educational needs and disabilities.

While significant savings have been made from other parts of the council, we have protected school and post-16 travel for a number of years. We have actually increased the amount we spend by £3 million. Last year we spent £21 million.

We have already made changes that have made the service more efficient. We now need to consider changing the policies and we want to hear what Suffolk residents think about options about how to do this.

Reviewing school and post-16 travel also give us the opportunity to see if other residents could benefit from the buses going to and from schools and post-16 colleges.

This consultation has now closed.