Proposed changes to the provision of school transport for students over 16 with special educational needs and disabilities in Leeds will be paused for a year, it was announced today.
The original proposals were approved by the council’s executive board last year following an extensive public consultation, which took in the views of parents, carers and communities.
After listening to further recent feedback from parents, carers and young people, the council has decided to take more time to consider the proposals and explore opportunities to improve them.
This means that young people entering post-16 education in September 2018 will not be affected by the proposed changes whilst they remain in post-16 learning.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for learning, skills and employment said:
“We are acutely aware that these decisions are extremely sensitive for young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families, and we have always endeavoured to work closely with them to ensure that not only are their views heard but that they inform any changes in policy.
“We will continue to offer places on our award-winning Independent Travel Training programme to every young person who has the potential to gain independent travel skills, regardless of their year group. This training has improved outcomes for more than 600 young people so far and we will continue to make this available.
“However, by putting our broader proposals on pause, it means that over the next year we can continue to do all we can to help other young people and families in future find the best possible solutions to fit their individual circumstances.
“Leeds City Council has a long and outstanding track record for funding post-16 SEND transport provision but the harsh reality of reduced funding for councils means this is increasingly difficult to maintain.
“However, parents and carers can be reassured that we will be with them every step of the way over the next 12 months.”
“The council will continue to support young people in a variety of different ways depending on their specific needs. In addition to our Independent Travel Training this may therefore also include the continued provision of transport.”
The council is now writing to parents and carers with more information.