Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Minister for Education, Minister for Housing and Local Government and the Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language
We are issuing this statement jointly to reflect the cross departmental matters raised by the Children’s Commissioner, the Welsh Language Commissioner, Members of the Senedd and the general public concerning transport arrangements since our previous written statement Review of Post 16 Learner Travel on 13 November 2019.
Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has affected the progress we have been able to make with the review, it has given us an opportunity to reflect on these issues and consider whether the current scope of the review is sufficient.
We remain of the view the current legislation that places duties on local authorities to make transport arrangements for learners of statutory school age based on distance, aptitude and safety, are generally working well. However, in light of the issues raised over past months, the original scope of the review, which was to consider Post 16 Learner Travel, will now include the 4 – 16 year old age group. We will also widen the scope of the review to consider the current mileage threshold (2 miles for primary school and 3 miles for secondary school).
The review will require close working between Welsh Government the Welsh Language Commissioner, Children’s Commissioner and local authorities. Whilst we are aiming to complete the review by the end of March 2021, the impact of dealing with COVID-19 issues has the potential to cause delay.
We are aware that a commitment has been given to review and consult on the learner travel guidance this year but this will be delayed until the findings of the extended review are clear.
We will provide further updates as the review progresses.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.