Home to school transport funding issues revealed in new report

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2019 | 02 November 2019

The Local Government Association has today released a new report on the rising costs of providing free school transport today, which the County Councils Network has supported.

The report, featuring analysis from Isos Partnership, concludes that rising costs of special educational needs home to school transport are driving financial pressures for councils across the country, with costs of the service projected to rise by £127m to £1.2bn a year by 2024.

This is in line with the CCN’s own analysis, that found huge increases – and therefore spend – in special educational needs transport last year. You can download that report, and another analysis, which explored free school transport as a whole service area, here.

In addition, the Isos analysis concludes that the costs of providing these services in rural areas are higher than in other types of the country.

Below, CCN responds to the research.

Cllr Keith Glazier, children and young people spokesman for the County Councils Network, said:

“Today’s report echoes the County Councils Network’s calls for the Government to address the exponential rise in costs in delivering school transport for pupils with special needs across the country. These services are a lifeline for those pupils but are currently inadequately funded – with the scope for further savings narrowing.  This has meant that county authorities have significantly scaled back what they provide for other young people.

“These rising costs of special educational needs transport and wider financial pressures facing councils have resulted in authorities significantly reducing other school transport services. This is particularly the case in rural areas, with this report demonstrating that authorities in these areas have to spend more on home to school transport to the travel distances involved.

“We will look to engage in the Government’s forthcoming review of special educational needs – particularly as this rise in school transport demand is partly down to the legislative changes which will be reviewed.”