School travel policy implementation review outlined

Published

The group looking into the implementation of the new school travel policy have today outlined the scope of their review.

The review, which is being headed up by Chief Fire Officer Mark Hardingham, will be delivered in two phases. In phase one the group will analyse a wide range of evidence from stakeholders about the implementation of the policy to determine the lessons to be learned.

This will be gathered from various approaches including data analysis, document research, appeals evidence and outcomes, stakeholder group discussions, written statements and one to one interviews. The analysis will then be put together into a report which will draw conclusions and recommendations.

In the second phase, the report will be carefully reviewed. This may well lead to further work about changes to the implementation of the current School Travel Policy, or to elements of the Policy itself to ensure it runs more efficiently.

Councillor Mary Evans, cabinet member for Children’s services, Education and Skills said:

“I look forward to seeing the outcomes of this review and will carefully consider the recommendations made by the group. The implementation of the policy has been far from ideal, so it is essential that we review what went well and what did not go well to learn from this for pupils, parents and schools in 2020 and future years.

“The new school travel policy is based on guidance from the DFE and brings Suffolk County Council in line with other authorities across the country. SCC’s previous policy was able to exceed these requirements but with lower budgets and increasing demand, specifically for pupils with SEND, this was no longer sustainable.

"If we had not changed the policy the council would have to reallocate finances from other vital services such as children’s services, adult social care and/or highways.”

Chief Fire Officer, Mark Hardingham said:

“I am pleased to be heading up this review, this is an important piece of work which aims to improve the process for those applying for school travel from 2020. I look forward to working with my colleagues from across the organisation who each bring different expertise to the review group.”

Work will begin on the review in the next couple of weeks with the final report due to go to scrutiny committee in February.