Norfolk County Council has launched a public consultation as part of its annual review of its Post-16 Transport Policy Statement. The consultation focuses upon their Post-16 Travel Scheme that offers subsidised travel for eligible students aged between 16-18 years old, as well as 16-25 year olds with Special Education Needs and Disabilities, to get to a school sixth form, sixth form college or further education learning establishment.
The council spent £3.8m on its Post-16 Travel Scheme in 2022-23, providing travel assistance to 1,320 students across Norfolk. To reflect the current and forecasted level of inflation for the next year, they are considering increasing the parental contribution for the Post-16 Travel Scheme. The council usually increases the cost of the Post-16 Travel Scheme each year in-line with inflation.
In the consultation the council outlines two options for increasing parental contributions for post-16 travel. The 3% option is based on current inflation levels and the 6% option is based on the council’s inflationary forecast for 2024-25. The 6% figure more likely represents the cost uplift that the council will face in the coming year.
The council does not have to provide free or subsidised post-16 travel assistance but do have to prepare and publish an annual transport policy statement, specifying arrangements for provision of transport or other assistance that the authority considers necessary to facilitate the attendance of all persons of sixth form age receiving education or training.
The post Post-16 Transport Policy is reviewed annually to make sure it offers the best value for money and meets the needs of local families and young people, while remaining financially sustainable.
Findings from the consultation will be used as part of the evidence to inform a decision about the proposals. If approved, this change will be implemented from September 2024.
The consultation closes on 27 February 2024 and is available here.