Home To School Transport – news and updates

It’s been a very busy few months across the Summer and Autumn for PaCC Home to School Transport (HTST) Reps Diana & Pippa. Following the extremely turbulent experiences for students, families and schools in 2019, the September return this year ran a lot more smoothly – despite the increased challenges presented by the ongoing Pandemic.

In the background, PaCC Reps have been taking played an active role in the Councillor Policy Panel, alongside schools and taxi representatives, a useful public review that was set up to scrutinise ongoing issues with the service as well as to unpick what went wrong with the service in Sept 2019. The Panel, involving Cllrs, reps from PaCC, schools and taxi companies, was separate to the Independent Review, which was a process that concluded earlier this year, led by the Administration at BHCC.  The Panel’s recommendations for service improvements were presented to the November Children, Young People, Education & Skills Committee, along with written contributions from PaCC. We have regular formal meetings with HTST via Governance Board Meetings that take place every term, and interim Co-Production Working Group Meetings, as well as the individual sub-projects detailed below.

Behind the scenes, we have co-produced:

  • a comprehensive training and awareness package for all transport crews (Drivers & Vehicle Passenger Assistants/VPAs) that is now available to them through the Council’s electronic learning gateway
  • a new digitalised Application for HTST Process which should make applications easier, and reduce the need for appeals
  • a ‘Pupil Passport’ which will capture all the relevant info that students and their families think are important to know about them so their journeys can be as settled and well supported as possible
  • Job Descriptions for new roles within HTST

Additionally, we have just begun to build up a new Independent Travel Training initiative which will focus on the travel skills that older students (16+) need, which we hope will enable a greater level of independent travel. For some students this may mean full independence, and for others it may mean they are able to move away from transport on shared vehicles and move onto public transport with decreasing levels of additional support. Of course, personal safety is paramount.

Independent Travel Training fits with the Government’s Transition to Adulthood aims for young people with SEND. As with everything, sadly, ‘budget’ will be a factor, but we are hopeful, that subject to Policy & Budget approval at a future Children, Young People, Education & Skills Committee, and working closely with schools and colleges, we will be able to begin introducing some Independent Travel initiatives later this year. Our aim is to ensure that your young people receive the support they deserve to enable them to move toward greater travel independence, regardless of the setting that they are in. As always, PaCC aims to ensure that there is equity across the city for all.

We are especially grateful to students and their families who respond to our quick feedback surveys, and this is very appreciated by the HTST Team too. We will try not to bombard you, but it’s really helpful to check in with you at key points, when we are working so hard to make changes to the service and deliver a consistently high service to students. Your input helps to shape the service. We know first-hand how important it is to get the ’travel bookends’ of the learning day right.

As always, if you have any concerns with the HTST service, please do contact the HTST team by email hometoschooltransport@brighton-hove.gov.uk or by phone 01273 293501. If you need support to do this, you can contact Amaze SENDIASS on 01273 772289 or email sendiass@amazesussex.org.uk

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