A WORKING group of elected members and officers is set to review Warwickshire’s home-to-school transport service amid increased demand.
Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet voted unanimously to create a member working group to look specifically at the county’s home-to-school transport offer.
Home-to-school transport is available to Warwickshire parents under a specific set of circumstances. To qualify for help with transport, residents must be a resident in Warwickshire and their child must be attending the nearest qualifying school to their home.
The walking distance from their home to the nearest qualifying school must be over two miles for children under the age of eight years or over three miles for children aged eight to 16.
The 2023/24 budget included investment of an additional £8.2million in home to school transport over the next year, to meet the increasing demand and cost of the service, which has been particularly impacted by inflation.
The investment brings the total budget for home to school transport in 2023/24 to £30.1million.
The pressure on home-to-school transport has increased due to housing development in the county which adds to the in-year placement totals. This can result in an increased number of pupils who cannot be accommodated at their nearest school and may need to be transported to the next nearest school with places, if this is beyond the statutory walking distance.
This possible increased demand for home to school transport therefore creates a real longer-term financial risk requiring monitoring and mitigation. The 2023/24 budget resolution therefore agreed to set up a Member Working Group to enhance focus on the demand and cost management of home to school transport.
The Working Group is expected to make its written recommendations to Cabinet in the autumn.
Mark Ryder, WCC’s Strategic Director for Communities, said: “We are proud of our home-to-school transport service in Warwickshire which enables thousands of children to travel safely to school on a daily basis. The service enables us to accommodate an ever-increasing number of pupils in Warwickshire schools. The work of this Member Working Group will be invaluable in driving improvement and ensuring a sustainable service in future years.”
Find out more about home-to-school transport at https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/transporthelpunder16