Cambridgeshire County Council is entering into a process to review its contracts for SEN home to school transport for Highfield and Meadowgate School.  As part of this process, there will be a chance for parents to voice their views prior to the new contracts commencement in September 2017.

A letter has been sent to parents and carers along with a feedback and comments form

SEN Tendering Letter

Size: 179.18 KB File format: docx

SEN Comments Form

Size: 80.75 KB File format: docx

As detailed in the letter updates will be added to this page (newest first).

Initial FAQs (as included with notification letter)

Why are contracts being reviewed and retendered?

The Council have a legal obligation to carry out a regular retendering programme, to adhere to procurement laws and legislation, as well as ensuring best value for money.  

What could change?

At this time, we cannot give specific details of changes that could affect your children.  However, some possible changes could be to the combination of children on the transport, timings to the transport, the size of the vehicle or the company operating the route.

My child needs a taxi to get to and from school, will you be removing this arrangement?

Under current legislation, the council must provide suitable transport arrangements if the pupil’s needs meet the transport criteria under the pupil’s EHCP. 

Transport entitlement will be reviewed regularly throughout the pupil’s school life and may change or be removed subject to route availability and pupil needs.

My child has an established routine and any change will upset them.  Can you guarantee that they will travel in the same vehicle, with the same driver using the same route with the same group of children as now? 

We cannot guarantee this.  Some travel arrangements may change and while we will not compromise on the quality of transport, we understand that some parents may have concerns.  We will offer suitable transport to all eligible children.  

I need to be sure that my child will be picked up and dropped off at an exact time, as this has to fit in with taking my other children to school or work arrangements.  How do I make sure this happens? 

The Council’s duty is to make suitable transport arrangements for all eligible pupils at the start and the end of the school day.  Our new contracts will require providers to get children to school on time and to pick them up after school, but we cannot plan these to fit in with individual childcare or other domestic arrangements. 

How long is the maximum journey time?

Maximum journey time for primary aged pupils is 45 minutes, and 75 minutes for secondary aged.  However, some journey times might exceed these guidelines, depending on location of home and distance to the school.

Will I be able to meet the transport staff, if there are changes?

You will be able to contact the transport provider, once you have been informed of the arrangements for September. However, please bear in mind the operator may not know which staff  are allocated to the route straight away or pick up times.  Operators will be able to arrange greetings with pupil and parent prior to the start of the new school term in September, these can be booked directly with the operator and could occur during the school holidays if needed.  

Are you reducing the quality of the transport that will be provided?

Our intention is to deliver cost effective services, and achieve value for money working within Local Government funding. We recognise that it is important to maintain the quality of school transport and have strict contractual obligations that the operators have to meet to ensure punctual and safe transport to school.

What checks and training do drivers and passenger assistants receive?

All transport staff have an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) clearance through CCC to work on any school transport, and will have ID available for you to see upon request.  All drivers are appropriately licenced, either through the district councils for taxis or DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) for larger minibus vehicles or buses. 

Training will be provided for all drivers and passenger assistants working on special educational needs contracts, and specific training is given depending on children’s needs.

The Council produces a code of practice and procedures for staff, which sets out the expected standard of conduct in delivering the service (for example not smoking on the vehicle).  

How do we know the vehicles are safe?  Some are quite old – why can’t they all be new?

Providers must ensure that all vehicles are roadworthy, clean and suitable for the journeys that they have been contracted to provide.  Providers have to meet government standards, which are enforced by local licensing authorities and the DVSA.

How does the Council check that all the routes are being run properly?

The Council carry out regular checks on school transport, but also rely on parents and school to inform us on any operational issues. 

Who will be involved with reviewing the transport needs of my child?

Representatives from Cambridgeshire County Councils SEND Resources Team and Social and Education Transport Team meet with school staff to assess each pupil’s individual needs for transport.  Parents also have the chance to give their views on the process (see attached letter and response form).  

Is there a process of appeal decisions made during the reviewing and retendering process?

If you are unhappy with the outcome of this review, you will be able to appeal to the County Resourcing Panel. For further information regarding this process, please contact 01480 372775.

What happens next?
28 March 2017 Drop in sessions at Highfield School 
29 March 2017 Drop in sessions at Meadowgate School
21 April 2017 Deadline for parent responses
By 2 May 2017 SEND Resources team will respond to any comments made about transport
Week commencing 19 June 2017 Parents will be informed about transport arrangements for September (This information will include the operator name and telephone number.  We will not be able to share information about other pupils on the transport, as we have a duty to care under data protection legislation.)
From 19 June onwards Parents will be able to arrange to meet the new transport staff
September 2017 New transport arrangements will commence

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