Consultation on draft new Travel Assist policy
Councillor Kate Booth, cabinet member for children’s wellbeing, is encouraging people to take part in the Travel Assist policy consultation.
"Birmingham City Council helps transport almost 6,000 children to school every day, via minibus, taxi and use of bus and train passes. The service mostly supports those children with SEND can’t be expected to walk to school because of a disability or issues related to their special educational needs. However, home to school transport is also provided where needed, for children living in temporary accommodation, children in care and other children who may be in low-income families and struggling to get to school without support.
"Of the children the service supports, 4,250 are transported using taxis and minibuses, with some of the 600 transport routes having a guided service, for those children assessed as needing a guide whilst on route to school.
"This is the largest provision of home to school transport, and the largest guided service, in the country; all through primary and secondary years. It is a huge challenge and when we look at other local authorities, it is clear that Birmingham could be doing more to help families consider and adopt more independent travel options.
"Too many of our children are still on buses for far too long which separates them from their local communities, does not always prepare them for adulthood, affects their readiness to learn and, in some cases, school attendance and behaviour.
"We are now consulting on a new Travel Assist policy and I would urge everyone with an interest in the future of the service to take part. We want to hear from schools, parents, the children themselves, head teachers – and I will be happy to come and meet people in community venues if people are more comfortable talking face-to-face. It is important that nobody is excluded.
"Our policy needs to focus on those young people who are most in need of our support, with better planned options, reduced travel time and greater clarity on what the council can and can’t do.
"So please take a look at the consultation and let us know your views": www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/people-1/0-25-policy.