Freedom of information response

Transport provision SEN

Publication date: 
Tuesday 10 December 2019
Request: 

1. For academic year since 2018/19, how many children aged 5-16 in Thurrock have received free statutory home to school transport? And, of these, how many children have received this provision on the eligibility of SEND?

2. Do you routinely record educational absences due to a lack of home to school transport provision for children aged 5-16 eligible for this provision on the basis of SEND? If so, please provide the data on this for academic year 2018/2019.

We are unable to provide an exact number for question 2 above as:

  • There is a low number involved.

  • The release of this information could identify individuals which would constitute their personal data under the Data Protection Act

  • There is no prior expectation on the part of these individuals that their personal information would be published in the wider public domain under the FOI Act

  • Personal data of any other person is exempt under section 40 (2) of the Data Protection Act.

3. However in the interests of transparency we are able to provide this information to you categorised as fewer than 5 to give you an indication of the figures

For academic year 2018/19, how much funding has Thurrock spent providing home to school transport for children aged 5-16 eligible on the basis of SEND

For each academic year since 2009/2010, how many children, aged 5-16, requiring specialist support from a chaperone on their home to school journey have received this support? Please give your answer as a percentage of total children eligible for chaperone support on the basis of SEND.

4. What quality assurance processes do you have in place to ensure that home to school transport provision, including but not limited to training of the chaperone and driver, type of vehicle, length of journey and needs of other children on board, for children aged 5-16 on the basis of SEND is appropriate to meet each individual child’s needs?

5. What is your planning process, including timescales, for ensuring the provision of home to school transport for children aged 5-16 eligible on the basis of SEND, and what data sources do you use to support this process? 

Response: 

1. 2018/19 academic year: Total number of pupils aged 5-16 accessing free HTS Transport = 1014  Total number of pupils with SEND accessing free HTS =  425

2. Fewer than 5

2018/19 academic year:  Spend on all categories of SEND Transport (Out of borough SEND, In borough SEND, Out of borough to residential schools) is £3,252,386.20

3. Thurrock Council requires an escort to accompany all SEND children. We transport 72 children to special schools outside of the borough and some of those children with complex needs require more than one escort.

4. Our procurement process includes a robust specification requiring operators, drivers and escorts to meet set criteria including training around Safeguarding, CSE, organisational compliance with the  Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other relevant Acts and Regulations as well as appropriate Health and Safety qualifications, skills, experience and training or supervision for staff to enable them to discharge their duties adequately. Also, during the Invitation To Tender (ITT) process operators are given specific scenarios relating to the care of pupils with SEND during transport. Their responses are evaluated and scored and added to their overall score.

5. Planning processes and data are obtained from a number of services supporting the delivery of SEND transport. A variety of systems are used ranging from Synergy,  Passenger Transport, Data maps, Awards systems

The working groups/ patterns listed below are used to plan and produce data to ensure the transport requirements of SEND pupils, individually and collectively are met:

Project Review Group –  Meets monthly; Multi-service meeting involving Commissioning Team, Legal, Procurement, Passenger /Transport, Awards Team which meets monthly to consider all SEND and mainstream transport issues

Entitlement Officer’s meeting – Meets daily; Contracts manager and Entitlement Officer meet daily to consider eligibility, identify issues, trends, liaise with parents, officers, elected members and all other services involved  with SEND transport

Project Management meeting –  Meets bi-weekly; Project manager-led meeting ensures regular updates of the transport project plan around SEND transport, monitors progress, flags potential issues/delays

Collaborative working – Daily working pattern; involves Admissions Team , Commissioning Team, the Pupil Place Planning service and the Passenger Transport Unit via specific meetings designated to identify trends both local and national affecting the provision of SEND transport, discussion and resolution of current and potential issues.

Eastern Regional Group of Transport Officers – Meets termly, over 10 local authorities consider SEND and mainstream transport issues and share expertise, data and lessons learned. Department of Education attends to give guidance, information on statutory obligations and advice on complex issues.

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Request reference:
FOI 9574