A school bus service in the UK

Proposals for SEND support

Senior councillors within Leeds City Council are to consider proposed changes to the way that the council provides SEND learners with transport assistance.

Currently, the council has a statutory obligation to provide free home to school transport for children of compulsory school age, however this obligation does not apply for learners over the age of 16. Whilst the council currently does provide discretionary assistance for post-16 students with special education needs and disabilities, the council is to review changes that will apply from the 2025/26 academic year.

This review comes as the council is looking to further promote independent travel training, or other transport solutions, whilst also combatting some of the financial challenges that the authority is facing. Leeds City Council currently faces discretionary transport assistance costs of between £4 million and £4.5 million per year, as the number of learners receiving support has doubled since 2015.

SEND transport quote

Executive Member for Children and Families, Cllr Helen Hayden, said:

“As an authority we remain committed to providing discretionary transport assistance for post-16 learners with special educational needs and disabilities.

“However, the way we currently do this is not sustainable considering the financial challenges faced by the council, and with demand for these services doubling since 2015.

“We remain committed to supporting young people who can travel independently to do so and have increased our Independent Travel Training capacity. By reviewing the way we provide discretionary assistance, we are able to focus support and available resources to those young people and families most in need.

“If approval is granted from (the) executive board on the 19th June, we will consult with young people, their families, and partners across the city on a range of proposals to understand the effect these changes would have on them, and on other services such as Adult Social Care transport.”

 

Image credit: iStock

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