Proposal to scrap travel chaperones for youngsters taking taxis to school

Changes have been proposed to school transport provision.
Changes have been proposed to school transport provision.

Changes to home-to-school transport could save more than £250,000.

Herts County Council wants to scrap passenger assistants from taxis taking children to mainstream primary schools.

The journeys would still be funded by the council and changes would affect fewer than 300 children.

If proposals go ahead it will bring the county council into line with almost all other local authorities which do not currently provide chaperones.

All taxi drivers are licensed by the borough council and an enhanced DBS check is part of the process.

The changes would be phased in so children currently in Reception would continue to have a passenger assistant until the end of the 2017/18 academic year.

Journeys to special schools for pupils with learning, behavioural, emotional and social difficulties or physical impairments would not be affected.

The council would also continue to consider applications for passenger assistants from families with specific needs.

Councillor David Williams, who oversees education, said: “Like all county councils our finances are being increasingly squeezed, and we are always looking for new ways to get the best value for taxpayers’ money.

“This proposal aims to prioritise the families that need an assistant the most, while also making significant savings. We also have to bear in mind that this service will become increasingly more expensive when the National Living Wage is introduced next year.”

On Monday, the council’s education panel will decide whether to endorse a consultation on the proposals.

The council’s Cabinet will make a final decision on whether the consultation goes ahead when it meets on Monday, December 14.

Mr Williams said: “Whatever the panel decides, I can assure those parents who may be affected that we will continue to fund a safe journey to school for their children.”