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Councillors asked to continue existing funding for special school after-school clubs' transport and add Wisbech academy to the list

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No immediate changes are being proposed to the funding arrangements for transport to and from after-school clubs at special schools in Cambridgeshire.

A consultation was launched in January on proposals to review the funding arrangements for the transport to and from these clubs run by special schools across the county.

The results of that consultation and other observations are being presented to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee next Tuesday (17).

Officers are recommending the county council fund transport for children attending an after school club at Meadowgate Academy in Wisbech. (56568184)
Officers are recommending the county council fund transport for children attending an after school club at Meadowgate Academy in Wisbech. (56568184)

The council currently provides funding to cover the cost of this transport to enable children and young people attending the five area special schools to stay on beyond the end of the school day and participate in after school activities.

The arrangements – which have been in place since 2011 – benefit those attending Castle School in Cambridge, Granta School in Linton, Highfields Academy in Ely, Samuel Pepys School in St Neots and Spring Common Academy in Huntingdon.

But officers are also recommending that the discretionary transport arrangements be extended to include pupils accessing the after-school club at Meadowgate Academy in Wisbech, currently the only other special school in the county offering after school provision.

The council previously funded and provided transport when the after-school club operated until 2018 when it closed. The club has since re-opened three days a week.

The council does not currently provide or fund similar arrangements for children and young people attending other specialist provision. It is, however, recognised that the current arrangements provide more than after school club opportunities for these pupils by also providing parents with both respite and childcare.

The consultation sought views on five options, but the majority of responses supported the continuation of existing arrangements.

Councillor Bryony Goodliffe, chair of Cambridgeshire’s children and young people’s committee, said: “The feedback from the consultation clearly shows the strength of feeling and level of concern which would arise if we stopped funding transport to and from these after-school clubs.

“There is no doubt that this is a council service which is highly rated and valuable – and more than in just financial terms - to those families who currently use it. I hope the committee will agree next week to continue the existing arrangements, with a review in 12 months’ time.”

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