Cost saving school travel scheme could become a permanent arrangement in Barnsley
A new payments system for getting special needs pupils to and from school could save around £75,000 a year for Barnsley Council following a successful trial.
Local authorities have a responsibility to provide transport for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities and historically have done so through providing the service directly, through taxis and other means.
Now, the council is offering a personal budget instead, worked out at 60 pence a mile for the round trip from home to school and back, twice a day, to allow for a child to be dropped off in the morning and collected in the afternoon.
The system has been operating on a trial basis with some families since September, saving the council £34,000 so far, and if the system had run over a full academic year, the cost reduction to the council has been calculated at £75,000.
It is possible the scheme will be extended to involve more families in future, meaning potential savings for the council will increase.
But the payment system has also proved a popular option for the families involved.
Those using the scheme have been asked for feedback on a scoring system, and they reported an average of 9.6 out of ten.
Barnsley Council’s ruling Cabinet is now being asked to introduce the system on a permanent basis.