Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: Christine Rothwell Senior Governance Officer
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Tim Needham and Bob Anderson.
To consider the extent, if any, to which the public and press are to be excluded from the meeting.
There were no items where the press and public should be excluded.
Declarations of Interest, if any.
There were no declarations made at the meeting.
(A period not exceeding 20 minutes for statements from up to 5 members of the public on matters within the Panel’s remit, proposing action(s) which may be considered or contribute towards the future development of the Panel’s work programme).
There were no public statements made at the meeting.
The purpose of the report was to provide background and obtain approval for a revised Doncaster Council Home to School Travel Assistance Policy 2022–2027. It was explained that the provision of travel assistance was a contributing factor to the Education and Skills Strategy 2030 and Doncaster Delivering Together to enable all children and young people to achieve their full potential.
Impact on Families Where Bus Pass was Removed – Concern was raised that the removal of bus passes could prove to be a considerable burden to some families.
Members were informed that there was a duty on the authority to provide travel assistance for pupils who meet a distance criteria to their nearest school. It was commented that when parents move houses then children were no longer attending the nearest school.
It was verified that this was for future provision and assurances were provided that a child who had moved this year into year 10 and received a bus pass would still receive it in year 11.
It was acknowledged that there were exceptional circumstances, some of which being outside the parents control. In those instances, parents would be advised to contact the authority as part of an appeals process and if the situation was considered an exceptional circumstance, then a bus pass would be provided. It was noted that that there was no intention of taking away from those in need of urgent help and appeals would be considered on a case by case basis.
It was clarified that in the event that a suitable school was named on an Education Health Care Plan (ECHP) then the authority would need to consider individual circumstances and the ability of the child to travel (and what form of travel was best). It was explained that if the named school was considered suitable then some sort of travel assistance would be considered depending upon the circumstances.
Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND) Provision - A comment was made based on the identified saving of £113k over a 3 year period. It was felt that if SEND parents were to also incur a charge, this could then indicate that the majority of budget spent on school transport lies within the SEND area and therefore suggested that further SEND provision was required within certain communities.
The Assistant Director, Education, Skills, Culture and Heritage indicated that this would be looked at as part of the SEND transformation journey. The Panel was reminded that SEND would be considered as part of their workplan, in addition to the white and green papers that would help the Panel consider that wider SEND provision mapping and whether there was the right provision in the right places across the Borough.
Safeguarding - A Member raised concern about whether taxi and bus driving staff and escorts were Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked and whether this was kept up-to-date. It was also asked what safeguarding actions were put in place and what training, advice and guidance was made available.
It was confirmed ... view the full minutes text for item 5.