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Education and Inspections Act 2006

Schedule 9: School Travel Schemes

385.This inserts a new Schedule 35C into the 1996 Act.

386.Paragraph 1 allows individual local education authorities in England to make school travel schemes for their area. If two or more local education authorities want to work together, they must each make a scheme for their own area, operating in a coordinated way. Schemes made by local education authorities will only come into effect if approved by the Secretary of State under paragraph 10. Before a local education authority submits a scheme application, it must consult as necessary on the proposals included in the scheme (details of the consultation process will be included in guidance).

387.Paragraph 2(1) requires school travel schemes to set out in general terms the type of travel arrangements the ‘scheme authority’ (that is, the local education authority making the scheme) considers appropriate for children attending schools (including pupil referral units), further education institutions, or any other place where exceptional arrangements for education are made.

388.Paragraph 2(2) provides that the type of travel arrangements to be set out under paragraph 2(1) are either arrangements to be made by the scheme authority or arrangements to be made by any other person or both.

389.Paragraph 2(3) explains that school travel schemes may cover not only the provision of transport, but also other arrangements such as measures to make walking and cycling all or part of a route to school more attractive. A school travel scheme may include provisions for complete or partial reimbursement of travelling expenses, for example providing a travel card on public transport, mileage allowances for parents conveying pupils to school in remote rural areas, or a contribution towards the cost of cycle equipment. This mirrors the arrangements set out in section 508B.

390.Paragraph 2(5) provides that where arrangements contained in the scheme are to be made by any person other than the scheme authority, but are not made or are so made but do not comply with the requirements of the scheme, the scheme authority must make suitable alternative arrangements.

391.Paragraphs 3 and 4 deal with arrangements that must be made for ‘eligible children’ (such children being of compulsory school age) and draws on Schedule 35B to the 1996 Act (see the notes above relating to Schedule 35B). The duty in relation to such eligible children mirrors the duty under section 508B(1) (save for the requirement in that provision that the travel arrangements are provided free of charge).

392.Paragraphs 5 and 6 require the scheme to set out a charging policy. No charge may be made under the scheme for travel arrangements for ‘protected children’.

393.Paragraph 6 defines ‘protected children’ as children of compulsory school age who: have special educational needs and/or a disability and/or mobility problem which prevent them from walking even short distances; or who are from low income families; or who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of the nature of the route(s) to their school.

394.Paragraph 7 means that charging policies must not discriminate against children with special educational needs and/or a disability and/or mobility problem: where charges are permitted, these must be no more than those applied to their counterparts who do not have special educational needs, a disability, or a mobility problem.

395.Paragraph 8 allows for unpaid charges in respect of anything provided by the scheme authority in pursuance of arrangements made by them to be recovered as a civil debt.

396.Paragraph 9 specifies that where a parent or child incurs expenditure as a consequence of a school travel scheme, the expenditure must be reimbursed by the scheme authority in the case of a protected child.

397.Paragraph 10 requires schemes to be approved by the Secretary of State before they come into force.

398.Paragraph 11 allows scheme authorities to amend or revoke school travel schemes. Whilst they may revoke schemes unilaterally, permission must be sought from the Secretary of State before schemes are amended. Once approved, amendments must be put into effect by the scheme authority.

399.Paragraph 12 requires local authorities to provide such information as is required by the Secretary of State to facilitate the monitoring and evaluation of schemes.

400.Paragraph 13 makes provision for the Secretary of State to issue and revise guidance relating to school travel schemes, and for the Secretary of State to consult as necessary before issuing or revising such guidance.

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