24 Jun 2024

Public consultation begins on proposed changes to transport support for post-16 learners with SEND

Transport Children's services

Online consultation runs until 23 July

Public consultation is now underway on proposed changes to the way Leeds City Council provides transport assistance for post-16 learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Following approval by senior councillors at last week’s executive board meeting, the plans are now open to public views online via http://www.leeds.gov.uk/post16transportpolicyreview which will be open until Tuesday 23 July.

Under the proposals, the council is considering changing the existing discretionary transport assistance for post-16 learners with SEND, with the aim of promoting independence through travel. While the council is statutorily obliged to make free of charge home to school travel arrangements for eligible children of compulsory school age, there is no similar statutory obligation on the local authority to provide transport for post-16 learners.

The proposed changes would also help to address the significant financial challenge facing the council. Currently, the council provides discretionary transport assistance costing £4m-£4.5million each year, with the number of learners receiving transport support having doubled since 2015.

The proposals put forward offer a range of options. These include considering travel distances to education settings, helping students make their own transport arrangements via a transport allowance, asking for a contribution towards transport costs, and limiting support to post-16 only with support for post-19 learners ending.

Any changes would be phased in and apply to new applications for the 2025/26 academic year onwards or where learner circumstances change, such as moving house or a different education setting after that point.

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council executive member for children and families said: 

“We encourage as many people as possible to look at these proposals and give us their views by taking part in the consultation. It will be vital in shaping the decisions made in this area so we want to hear what people think.

“We remain firmly committed to supporting all those in Leeds with special educational needs and disabilities as much as possible, but the level of transport support we currently offer is not sustainable given the current financial challenges the council faces and the increasing level of demand.

“We will be encouraging young people, their families, and partners across the city to take part in the consultation in order to reach a carefully-considered decision on how to proceed.”

The feedback received in the consultation will be presented to the executive board in October 2024 with a decision expected on implementation from September 2025.

To take part in the consultation visit http://www.leeds.gov.uk/post16transportpolicyreview

To read the full executive board report on this issue considered by senior councillors earlier this month, click here.



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Leeds City Council communications and marketing,

Email: communicationsteam@leeds.gov.uk

Tel: 0113 378 6007



For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team