Issue - meetings


Meeting: 15/12/2022 - Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee (Item 51)


Purpose of the item: To share findings of a review into provision of home to school travel assistance in the lead-up to the 2022/23 academic year, presented for scrutiny.


Additional documents:



Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Education and Learning

Sarah Kershaw, Chief of Staff 

Rachael Wardell, Executive Director – Children, Families & Learning

Rebecca Threlfall, Chief of Staff – Children, Families & Learning

Liz Mills, Director – Education and Lifelong Learning

Hayley Connor, Director – CFL Commissioning

Michael Smith, Programme Director – Twin Track  

Leanne Henderson – Participation Manager, Family Voice Surrey

Key points made in the discussion:

1.    The Chief of Staff presented slides on the Council’s intentions resulting from the learning review (Annex 1) and stated progress in these would be reported to the Select Committee.


2.    A Member asked how the 17 short-term priorities linked to the recommendations. The Programme Director explained they had identified six of these that would run into 2023 and plans were in place.


3.    The Participation Manager of Family Voice Surrey shared a presentation (Annex 2) on the findings from their survey conducted on home to school travel assistance (H2STA). Of those people who completed the survey, the key findings were that there were a range of negative impacts resulting from problems with H2STA including financial and mental health, communication challenges, and inconsistency around the independent travel allowance (ITA) provided.


4.    A Member noted that on a recent stage two review panel they had sat on, four out of five of the cases should had not have made it to stage two and suggested a lack of officer understanding. The Director (Commissioning) said many stage one appeals did not include enough detail to fully assess the situation and so forms had been changed to gather more information at this initial stage. She welcomed a conversation about improvements in both officer and Member training. The officers at stage two appeals were experienced. The review was looking at the whole process and improving it at every stage. Some recommendations would take longer to address, but all would be part of the improvement process.


5.    A Member enquired as to the Participation Manager’s perception of the current position for families. She understood the majority of families now had transport in place. Communication from families on the issue had reduced since the end of October / start of November.


6.    A Member queried whether the survey results were generalisable across Surrey and whether survey responses consisted of options or free text. The Participation Manager explained communication received prior to the survey was of a similar nature to the results. There were a variety of options for respondents to choose from, which had been selected based on what parent carers were telling them. SEND Advice Surrey were also hearing the same things.


7.    The Cabinet Member acknowledged the service had fallen short in 2022 and apologised for the impact on children and families. There had also been problems in previous years and they were working to address these as well.


8.    In response to a question on the Council funding transport for children at a mainstream school when they lived close to another school, the Director (Education and Lifelong  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51