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Home to school transport latest – BRIGHTON & HOVE

An update from Brighton & Hove City Council’s Home to School Transport team.

The article includes

  • Important info regarding Home to School transport and Covid 19
  • Information around a commitment to improve provision ahead of September 2020

“Dear parents and carers

Firstly, we are aware of the concerns parents and carers have around the coronavirus/ Covid-19. Advice is being updated daily and we will make sure we communicate any issues affecting transport to parents and carers as they occur. The requirement to self-isolate for anyone who has a new continuous cough, and/or a high temperature is affecting our drivers and VPAs. We are trying to support operators with staff shortages but there may unfortunately be a need to change arrangements at short notice. We will do our best to avoid disruption to the service.

Looking forward to September 2020, we would like to reassure you that the council has learned lessons from the difficulties that occurred with home to school transport in September 2019.

We will work hard to make sure they do not occur again.

We want to ensure the maximum stability and consistency for our children and young people in the coming academic year.

The contracts with our transport companies which are already in place will remain in place – there will be no re-tendering of existing routes under the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) used last autumn.

This means that, providing our transport companies are offering a good value service of the high-quality our children and young people need, their existing contracts will continue.

Of course, every year some changes need to be made because new children and young people need home to school transport while others leave. But we will keep these changes to a minimum.

If there is a change for your child or young person, we will make sure that you are notified in good time.

This ensures time for drivers and vehicle passenger assistants to be introduced, and the right plans put in place to meet your child’s needs on each journey.

We also want to reassure parents and carers that the council monitors transport providers regularly to ensure that the safeguarding checks (known as ‘enhanced DBS’) for drivers and Vehicle Passenger Assistants (VPAs) are in place.

We are also doing regular spot checks at school sites to ensure compliance with vehicle standards and safety.

We accept the views of parents and carers that the way we currently transfer information to transport companies via the pupil information sheets is no longer fit for purpose.

Working together with PACC/Amaze, we will completely overhaul this system and produce high-quality travel plans for each child and young person. This will take a while.

In the meantime, we are re-checking all the information held on our children and young people regarding transport arrangements. We want to be sure the information transferred to transport companies is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.

We also accept that the way previous changes were introduced in the autumn term of 2019 led to a poor service for many families and much distress and disturbance.

We understand that parents and carers feel they were not listened to and their views ignored.

We are aware that trust and confidence between the council and parents and carers in relation to transport has been damaged.

Regaining the trust and confidence of our families is a top priority for us.

Going forward, we are committed to involving parents and carers in the development of all our future planning. All new systems will be co-produced with PACC and Amaze.

PACC and Amaze will also be involved in any new appointments of home to school transport staff at the council.

We are inviting Amaze to send a parent representative to join our Transport Panel. This is the key place where decisions on transport are made.

Finally, I would like to make it clear that we warmly welcome contact from parents.

If you have any queries or concerns, please do contact our home to school transport team on 01273 293501. PACC will also raise queries or concerns on your behalf with us.

Yours sincerely

Dr Jo Lyons

Assistant Director, Families, Children and Learning (Education and Skills)
Brighton & Hove City Council”

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