School Travel Plan
It was a condition of planning permission being granted, for the change of use of 11, Solebay Street from a warehouse to a two-form entry primary school, that within 3 months of occupation for the permitted use (i.e. by 9th December 2014, when the school opened), we review, complete and submit to the local planning authority the school’s travel plan. As you know, Paradigm Trust only took control of the school on 1st September 2014 but Local Authority officers have told us that it is not possible to extend this deadline.
The travel plan covers a number of initiatives concerned with encouraging safe and healthy means of travel, in particular initiatives to encourage pupils to walk, cycle and use public transport and to reduce the use of cars to travel to and from school. This is necessary to comply with Tower Hamlets’ requirements and government policy.
We have a number of steps to complete before the 9th December filing deadline.
We have met on three occasions a group of parents and carers and have listened to their views and we have received a petition signed by a number of you. We have met Local Authority officers responsible respectively for School Travel Plans and for Transport & Highways (one meeting with the officers was attended by the group of parents and carers) and we have talked to rangers in Mile End Park.
This week, we conducted surveys involving pupils and staff respectively and we have received your written comments regarding any travel or transport issues, for which many thanks. We need to seek views from a number of other people including the Police/Safer Neighbourhoods Officer, the Head of Arts and Parks at Mile End Park and representatives of local businesses and residents’ associations.
As I mentioned, in my letter to you dated 5th November 2014, the safety of our pupils, your children, is paramount. Part of the work we are doing on the travel plan, involves re-examining all of the risks associated with: (1) the current drop-off and collection arrangements and (2) drop-off and collection at the school’s entrances. These risk assessments will include a consideration of the steps that can reasonably be taken to reduce any of the identified risks.
Work on drafting the travel plan is progressing. The plan has to cover a description of the school (including pupil and staff numbers, hours of operation and facilities), its location (roads, nearby residential housing, commercial enterprises etc.), the school catchment area (i.e. the distances our pupils live from the school), the nearest public transport links, the Trust’s ethos, the school’s policies and practice to promote healthy living, personal safety and sustainable transport (i.e. what we can and will do to discourage use of cars for environmental reasons, namely to reduce congestion and save money on parking and petrol), the results of surveys and consultations we have carried out and it will set out detailed, measureable, targets (to reduce use of cars and to promote healthier forms of travel to and from school). We also have to identify who will be responsible for monitoring progress against the targets and reviewing the plan going forward.
We are making good progress but we still have some way to go. Our timetable is:
- Week commencing 17th November: complete consultation.
- Week commencing 24th November: complete work on the risk assessments and drafting.
- Week commencing 1st December: Governing Body meeting to review and approve the revised travel plan (including the risk assessments).
- 8th December 2014: file the revised travel plan with the local planning department, for final approval.
We will report to you on the outcome in due course.