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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 5th December 2011

 

Report of the Director of Learning and Development

 

Additional Learning Needs Transport Review Update

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To update Members in relation to the planned Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Transport Service Review.

Recommendation

1.             Members note the objectives and focus of the review.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             To keep Members informed of issues relating to the provision of ALN Transport and the review of service provision and policy.

Background

2.             The focus of the review is to consider the existing provision and policy for providing home to school transport to pupils with Additional Learning Needs, identifying areas for improvement and financial savings in order to provide a comprehensive service and clear policy statement whilst addressing budgetary considerations. Reference will also be made to research undertaken relating to different approaches undertaken in other authorities to explore innovative practices that may lead to improvements and efficiency in service delivery.

3.             Objectives and Purpose of the Review are:

·               To examine existing service provision for ALN pupils in the Vale of Glamorgan and identify any gaps and overlaps in provision.

·               To examine examples of best practice in the area of ALN Transport and identify what the service can learn from these examples.

·               To investigate potential areas of inconsistency in the application of entitlement and to clarify policy and procedure in relation to these areas.

·               To investigate creative ways of providing a quality service within a reduced budget.

·               To make recommendations on the above points to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             In line with Council objectives, the desired outcomes for the service include:

·               A clear policy statement on provision of ALN transport

·               A consistent approach to transport provision for ALN pupils aged between 16-19 (College students), respite placements, Looked after Children (LAC) and parent mileage payments.

·               A streamlined service operating within the budget allocated whilst providing safe and suitable transport for ALN Pupils.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

5.             The ALN Transport Service budget was reduced by £150,000 commencing April 2011. Provision of the service within the reduced funding has proved challenging particularly as activity can be volatile. The review will look for efficiencies in service provision in order to address this budget position.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

6.             The Council has a statutory duty under the 1999 Local Government Act to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

7.             The law relating to school transport is contained under section 444 and 509 of The Education Act 1996 and the Learner Travel (Wales) Measures. The Learner Travel (Wales) 2008 Measures replaces provisions applying to Wales in sections 509, 509AA, 509AB, 509AC and 509A of the Education Act (as amended) and section 444 is amended to provide a higher level of entitlement to free transport. 

8.             The Education Act 1996 (as amended) sets out the law for the attendance of pupils at school and The Learner Travel (Wales) Measures 2008 sets out related provisions for school/learner transport in Wales. The Measure places a duty to provide transport for children receiving  primary education who live two miles or further from home to the nearest suitable school and three miles for pupils receiving secondary education. The law does not treat children with additional learning needs (ALN) differently from other children in this respect but a local authority must consider a pupil's additional learning needs when making transport decisions.

Crime and Disorder Implications

9.             There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

10.        A clear policy is required which simplifies the procedure for those pupils with disabilities as compared with those pupils without a disability. A more detailed Equalities Impact Assessment will be undertaken at the beginning of the Review, the outcome of which will feed into the development of the Review. 

Corporate/Service Objectives

11.        The ALN Transport Service has been identified in the 2011/12 Strategic Planning and Performance Service Plan as an area that will be examined to identify savings and efficiencies.  A reduced budget has been agreed for the financial year 2011/12.

Policy Framework and Budget

12.        This is a matter for Executive decision by the Cabinet. 

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

13.        Consultation will be carried out with Members, Headteachers, Officers and parents/ guardians as part of the review.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

14.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

Cabinet Report Cabinet Meeting 21st February 2011:  Final Proposals for the Revenue Budget 2011/2012

Internal Audit report November 2010

Checklist for Scoping ALN Transport Review

Contact Officer

Lisa Lewis, Strategic Planning and Performance Officer

01446 709899

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning & Performance

Mark Haynes, School Organisation and Access Manager

Responsible Officer:

Bryan Jeffreys, Director of Learning and Development

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