Suffolk County Council is working flat out to process school transport applications backlog
Almost 500 funded school travel applications are yet to be processed by Suffolk County Council just one week before children return to school.
Following the release of GCSE results at the end of last week, which largely dictates how many spare seats become available for school travel, Suffolk County Council’s Passenger Transport Team has been working hard to continue processing as many outstanding applications for funded school travel and spare seats as possible before the start of school term.
As of yesterday morning there were 472 pending applications, 442 applications were processed over the previous five working days.
During the last week, 178 new applications had also been received – coming in two and half months after the deadline of May 31.
The total number of applications this year is 10,103 (including the latest applications received this week).
Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Education and Skills, said: “I am pleased to confirm that at this point every child whose application was received on time and who is entitled to SCC funded school travel has received confirmation of their application outcome.
"All current pupils who remain entitled to SCC funded school travel have also had their seats confirmed.
“I know from having taken calls first-hand alongside the team during the application process, that there are a small number of applications where specific circumstances need further analysis and review.
"These cases are being treated with care to ensure the correct outcome is reached, this may mean that some families are not eligible for SCC funded travel who think they should be.
"In these cases we are working hard to find possible solutions which may include them purchasing a spare seat if one is available.
"There is also an active appeals process continuing for a number of cases so I must respect that process and allow all judgements to be made correctly.
“I do understand the frustration of families who may feel they have not had the outcome they expected but I also know that many families are working together with their schools and the council to come up with potential local solutions to share transport costs or find alternative transport arrangements where possible.”
As letters of confirmation continue to go out to parents to inform them of their eligibility, it is imperative that a suitable photo of their child is loaded onto the system before any pass can be issued.
There are a high number of cases where a funded seat has been confirmed but no photo is currently on the system.
No bus pass can be issued until this is in place. To add a photo, parents need to visit www.suffolkonboard.com/photo and follow the instructions on screen.
If there are any families who are concerned that they may be entitled to funded transport but are yet to apply or hear back from the team, we strongly encourage them to contact the team on 0345 6066173 to discuss the specific circumstances surrounding their application and any concerns they may have.
More by this authorSteve Barton