THURROCK Council is axing some “unsafe” school transport routes under a revamp of the service.
The council is set to make a saving by cutting some of the current 174 routes which have until now been considered unsafe routes.
Home to school transport is currently provided to all secondary school students that live on a route where no footway links currently exist between their home and the school. Such routes have historically been referred to as “unsafe routes”.
The council can only do this if it can identify other safer routes and a report to the children’s Services overview and scrutiny committee claims this has been achieved for one school following a review.
The council said it is confident that the alternative routes by trains and buses will provide suitable provision for the children travelling to St Clere’s School
The scheme will see six buses which transport youngsters to the school in Butts Lane, Stanford-le-Hope decommissioned. The route, carrying students to and from East Tilbury and Linford, has been considered for many years to be an unsafe route. However, the council says “a number of safe alternative routes are being investigated including an existing public transport route”.
The report, by Sarah Williams, strategic lead, education support service, says the council has the support of the school. It said: “The issues of safety, capacity, timing and other factors impacting students travel along the route have been considered in depth supported by a professional risk assessment and discussions with C2C, the Head teacher of St Clere’s School and ward councillors. “
The council has a statutory duty to make travel arrangements to facilitate attendance at school for eligible children aged five-16 and in certain circumstances, for young people of sixth form age and young people with Education Health Care plans up to age 25.
Other changes to the service include post-16 transport, new transport IT and travel training. This training is being offered “so that children can gain confidence and life skills”. Currently 11 children are undergoing this training.
Personal travel budgets are also part of the scheme, affording youngsters a level of independence.
Councillors will discuss the changes on Tuesday, February 8.