County council leaders agree post-16 transport price hike affecting students with additional needs

TRANSPORT provided by the county council for students with additional needs will be made more expensive – and will not meet their individual timetables.

Hampshire County Council’s Post-16 Transport Service aims to ensure that young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) or disabilities can still get to their college or year six every day.

But now the annual fee paid by parents will be increased by 2.7% – which the county council says is in line with inflation.

This means parents will pay £616.20 a year to take their child within five miles to university – but if they have to travel more than 10 miles it will cost them £1,365.91 a year.

Transport will also not be arranged according to individual student schedules, but will be one way to and from school or college each day.

Martin Goff, transport and admissions manager for Hampshire County Council, said: “This service is part of the home-to-school transport service and supports young people on their journeys to schools, sixth form and colleges in Hampshire.

“We proposed very few changes – one was in favor of students in reducing steps to a possible pick-up point and another is the inflationary increase in the charge.”

Currently, the county council spends £1.3m a year on transport after 16, as part of its £34m home-to-school transport service.

A consultation was carried out at the beginning of this year, inviting parents, pupils and educators to give their opinion on the proposals.

There were six responses to the consultation – all of which called for increased public bus services at the start and end of the school day.

Four of these were submitted on behalf of students at Alton College, the other two for Havant and South Downs College.

In its report, the county council explained that the service has nothing to do with public transport services, as these are operated by commercial bus companies.

On the day of her decision, Senior Executive Member of Children’s Services, Cllr Roz Chadd, said: ‘I have no further questions on this.

“I am pleased to endorse the Post-16 Transport Review and thank Martin Goff for all his work on this.”

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