School Transport

Update from LA: letter to all users

For those who still need help, you can contact the home to School Transport Team by emailing: edtransport@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Letter to Parent Carers:

The Social & Education Team (SETT) are working with the Head teachers of Cambridgeshire’s special schools over the travel arrangements for children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEND) entitled to transport provided by the Local Authority, returning to, or starting school in September. We appreciate that this is an anxious time for you.

We have been receiving lots of queries about transport and have listed the main topics and answers below. We hope this will prove reassuring to you.

Please note that these may change over the holiday period as government guidance is updated. If you have any further concerns or queries, please contact the Transport Team, who will be available over the summer break. Email: edtransport@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

1. Health & Safety

Many of the vehicles which are provided through the Local Authority are only used for journeys to and from school. This is not the case with taxis. These are likely to be used to transport other passengers when they are not required for school transport.

Like schools, operators must follow the Government’s guidance on ‘safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings.

The Local Authority has confirmed that it is working with all transport operators to ensure all vehicles used for transporting children to and from school are cleaned properly every day in line with Government guidance. Public Health England (PHE) recommend that frequently touched surfaces are cleaned quickly and thoroughly using standard products such as detergents and bleach, after each journey wherever possible.

Every operator has been asked to provide a risk assessment to the Transport Team, including information on their arrangements for cleaning of vehicles, personal safety such as hand washing and use of sanitiser, as well as details of their health and safety procedures for Covid-19. These assessments have been reviewed by the Transport Team and, unannounced spot-checks will be carried out by the Team’s Monitoring Officer to ensure operators are complying with both the Local Authority’s conditions of contract and Government guidance.

All Passenger Assistants will wear face coverings, as will those drivers who will come into close contact with the children and young people they are transporting.

Drivers and passenger assistants must not work if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or if someone in their household has symptoms. They must go home immediately if they begin displaying symptoms whilst at work.

2. What happens if a child becomes ill?

You must not let your child get onto their school transport if either they or a member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19.

If your child develops symptoms whilst at school, we will contact you and agree the arrangements for getting them home.

In exceptional circumstances, where it is not possible for you to make your own arrangements to get your child home, the Local Authority may arrange for transport to be provided.

Anyone with symptoms must follow the ‘Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’.

Anyone, including other children, who has been in contact with someone that has developed symptoms whilst at school or on home to school transport does not need to go home to self-isolate. The exceptions to this are:

a) unless they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange a test), or
b) the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive, or
c) if they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

3. Continuity of current transport arrangements

In order to meet Government guidance with the number of vehicles, drivers and passenger assistants, operators have available to them, it may be necessary to make some changes to the transport arrangements for some children and young people.

In some instances, the Local Authority may need to use a different operator, or the operator may need to use a different driver and/or Passenger Assistant from September.

The Local Authority may also need to change the times at which a child or young person is collected from their home and/or returned home, example in in response to decisions made by schools to stagger their start times in order to manage the number of vehicles coming onto their sites at any one time.

The Local Authority’s Transport Team will ensure that the operator is provided with information on your child’s needs and preferences. The Team will ask the operator to contact you, and also ask that they offer ‘meet and greets’ for both parents and children prior to the start of school in order to start building that important relationship and discuss practical arrangements such as where a child will be seated in their vehicle.

4. Parental mileage

You will have the option of requesting parental mileage as an alternative to using Local Authority provided transport. Parental mileage will be agreed initially up October half-term and will then be subject to review.

Parental mileage will be based on the distance between your home and the school calculated at the Authority’s approved mileage rate of 40p per mile. Your journey home from taking your child to school and journey to collect your child are also taken into account, which means that the Authority will pay you for 4 journeys for each school day.

You do not have to transport your child yourself. You could choose to ask another family member to do this on your behalf.

5. Children with medical conditions and complex needs

The Local Authority will need to consider the transport arrangements on a case-by-case basis. The Local Authority’s preference is that, where possible, either one of the child’s parents, another family member or adult who knows the child well, accompany them as their Passenger Assistant. Alternatively, parents may wish to consider requesting parental mileage. If you have any concerns about your child’s medical condition whilst using transport, please make your school and the Authority’s Transport Team aware as soon as possible.

6. School travel information

Due to the amount of work required to reschedule home to school transport in response to the Government guidelines on COVID-19, the Local Authority’s Transport Team may not be able to share transport information, such as timetables and loading lists, with parents until the end of August.

7. Communication

If your child is not attending school for any reason, please remember to telephone the school as soon as possible to let them know in addition to informing your transport provided.