Report of the Director of Children and Adults Services.
The Cabinet Member with the Adult Social Care Portfolio introduced the report of the Director of Children and Adults Services (previously circulated) updating Members on the outcome of the recent public consultation undertaken and requesting that consideration be given to the introduction of a Travel Assistance Policy for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) (also previously circulated).
The report stated that the introduction of a Travel Assistance Policy was recommended following the outcome of a public consultation exercise with service users, stakeholders and the wider public; the proposed changes would help to ensure that travel assistance support could continue to be provided to all eligible children and young people in line with increasing demand and budgetary pressures; the policy provided the opportunity to offer a more flexible range of options to families and improve the quality of the service provision; and that the policy would ensure that children and young people with SEND did not miss out on the opportunity to develop independent travel skills.
The Chair of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee addressed Cabinet in relation to the consultation that had been undertaken in respect of the Travel Assistance Policy and the SEND Strategy; the positive feedback received from parents; and to the recommendations of the Children and Young People Scrutiny.
Discussion ensued on the Equality Impact Assessments undertaken, particularly in relation to Beaumont Hill Academy, who had a large number children with SEND; how the feedback from the consultation would be used; the recommendations from the scrutiny committee; access to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS); and on the importance of encouraging children to lead independent lives.
RESOLVED – (a) That the feedback from the public consultation undertaken in respect of the policy, as appended to the submitted report, be noted.
(b) That the Equalities Impact Assessment, as appended to the submitted report, be noted.
(c) That the new Travel Assistance Policy, as appended to the submitted report, be approved.
REASON – (a) To address pressures on the school transport budget.
(b) To utilise travel assistance funding in a way that provides assistance that is suitable and appropriate to the needs of children and young people and provides a range of transport assistance options.
(c) To provide assistance, where appropriate, that helps children and young people to adequately prepare for adulthood by encouraging and enabling them to develop their potential to travel independently.