Home To School Transport (HTST) improvements
Following last September’s home to school transport debacle, and consequent independent review of the service, PaCC have been working closely with the local authority to improve home to school transport provision. As PaCC Chair, Fiona England says “We need a service which is fit for purpose, and has the needs of CYP and families at its heart.”
The oversight of home to school transport has improved, with the creation of a governance board, as well as a councillor-led policy panel. PaCC sits on both these groups. PaCC is also the key co-production partner for both covid-related issues and ongoing improvements.
PaCC are working within a team to produce revised training for all drivers and escorts. This includes four ‘core’ modules for all to complete: Introduction; Equalities; Safeguarding; Basic SEND Information / Disability Awareness. In addition, there are more specialised modules, such as autism and epilepsy, as well as some individualised training where taxi drivers and escorts might be assisting a passenger with very specific needs . The training will be delivered via the Council’s Learning Gateway, and face to face training will follow in due course.
PaCC are also co-producing a revised Passenger Info Sheet “All About Me” which will give CYP and their Parent Carers a clearer opportunity to provide the vital information that will help to make a journey less stressful and easier. The aim is to do a better job of getting this really helpful information, making sure that the Crews have this information to hand, and that year on year the information can be more easily amended, rather than starting from scratch. You’ll see that the new form has additional proactive emphasis on “what helps” rather than just focusing on “what can go wrong”.
PaCC are also pleased to confirm that a Parent Carer Representative from Amaze will be on the HTST Panel that considers applications and appeals moving forward.
Alongside these projects, there has been an ongoing focus on avoiding a repeat of last year when children and young people return to school in September. Home to school transport has, of course, been impacted by the covid-19 pandemic, bringing additional challenges.
In response to PaCC’s queries about readiness and risks for a smooth September start, Regan Delf (Interim Lead Home to School Transport, BHCC), says “We are well ahead with planning arrangements for September. If there are any changes, families will be able to meet their driver and if needed, VPA, in the first two weeks of August. We will be sending another communication with more details about September arrangements and the response to the ongoing COVID situation shortly to parents and carers.”
PaCC remain concerned that Covid brings extra risks for September, and we continue to raise issues voiced by Parents and Carers and to flag their high expectations around fundamental safeguards & training.