Tendring: Council wants more time to respond to school transport consultation

Tendring District Council's cabinet member for education and skills, Stephen Mayzes

Tendring District Council's cabinet member for education and skills, Stephen Mayzes - Credit: Archant

An urgent plea has been made for more time to discuss proposals being put forward over home to school transport which could disadvantage Tendring families.

Essex County Council (ECC) is reviewing its provision of this transport which costs around £25million a year to run.

The council is in the middle of a consultation period which runs until October 25.

Ray Gooding, ECC’s cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: “Quite simply we need to save money right across the board and this means a review of the discretionary elements of our Home to School Transport policy.

“We do not have the level of funding to continue providing the same levels of service that we have provided to students in the past.”

But members of Tendring District Council’s (TDC) cabinet have decided to ask for an extended period for them to give a response.

Stephen Mayzes, TDC’s cabinet member for education and skills, said he had grave concerns about some of the options that have been put forward.

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“There are six options currently on the table and some of these will hit Tendring families, especially those on lower incomes, if they are brought in,” he said.

“Because of that we want to have enough time to come up with a meaningful reply on this issue and don’t want to see it rushed through. It is important that we look into this very carefully for the sake of our residents. We acknowledge ECC’s position to review its policies in view of the savings it has to make but we believe that the proposed changes will have a negative impact on educating our young people and potential outcomes that adversely affect our communities.”

The proposals are a significant change to support currently provided and in a bid to save money.

Following the consultation a report will be put before ECC’s cabinet in December and any changes agreed will be introduced from September 2014 or September 2015.

TDC leader Peter Halliday said it was “right and proper” to look at service provision but he would be writing to ECC to ask for a lengthened consultation period.