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Tameside Council Sustainable Modes of Travel Strategy – December 2023


1.0 Tameside Council is currently in the process of updating its Sustainable Modes of Travel Strategy to take into account the latest legislation, best practice and financial constraints. In the interim, this document is intended to serve as a holding statement to lay out the key principles, data and legislation that will underpin the development of the new Strategy.

1.1 Department for Education guidance states that 'home to school travel is an integral part of the school system', as it ensures that no child of school age is prevented from accessing education by either a lack of transport or the cost of transport.

1.2 There are concerns that the cost of delivering free home to school travel has increased significantly in recent years. Research carried out by the County Councils Network shows that in 2018-19 £397 million was spent on home to school transport for children with SEND. This has increased to £725 million in 2022-23 and is projected to reach as high as £1.125 billion by 2027.28.

1.3 Reasons for this escalation of costs include:

  • An increase in the number of children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (ECHP), which has risen from 105,000 eight years ago to 230,000 in 2023.
  • The impact of inflation, a fragile provider market and a diminished public transport network. All of these have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis.
  • Frequent use of private taxis and other high-cost forms of transport as a result of the changing complexity of children's needs, increased parental expectations and demand for individual travel arrangements.

1.4 It is necessary for local authorities to take travel costs into account when planning the supply of school places, including giving consideration to capital expenditure, revenues costs and travel costs to ensure financial sustainability.

Statutory Requirements

2.0 Local authorities must publish a sustainable mode of travel strategy for each academic year. The strategy should set out the local authority's vision, objectives and work programmes for improving the infrastructure for sustainable travel, promoting sustainable travel to places of education, provide health benefits for children and their families through active journeys, and deliver environmental improvements through reduced congestion and improved air quality.

2.1 The sustainable modes of travel strategy must be published on the local authority website – with paper copies available on request – and include information about their strategy in their composite prospectus for school admissions.

2.2 Local authorities are not required to annually conduct a formal review of their sustainable models of travel strategy, but they should keep it under regular review to ensure it continues to meet local needs and comply with statutory requirements. Local authorities may find it helpful to make links between their strategy and other local strategies such as Local Transport Plans and Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans.

Sustainable Modes of Travel Strategy Key Principles and Objectives

3.0 The key principles that will inform the revised Tameside Sustainable Modes of Travel are as follows:

  • Every child is entitled to an education, and child should not be prevented from accessing education because they cannot get to school.
  • Parents and carers have a responsibility to ensure that a child attends school, including making relevant transport arrangements.
  • Local authorities must support parents to fulfil their duty to get their child to school, focusing resources on those who have the least capacity to arrange or provide transport themselves.
  • In order to deliver action to fight against climate change, local authorities should ensure that wherever possible home to school transport should be based around public transport networks or active travel options (walking and biking).
  • We have a responsibility to create a truly inclusive education system so that all children, irrespective of their needs, can be educated as close to their home as possible.

3.1 The key objectives of a revised Sustainable Modes of Travel Strategy will be as follows:

  • Accessibility:
    • Improve accessibility to educational establishment and activities.
    • Increase travel choice availability and flexibility for primary, secondary and sixth form students.
    • Address the changing way in which education is delivered, including pre- and after-school clubs and extended school hours.
    • Meet the needs of all children, including those from low income households, those with English as a second language, those who do not have access to private transport and those based in rural areas.
    • Provide training for pupils with disabilities to encourage independent travel.
  • Safety:
    • Provide an appropriate level of road safety and cycle training.
    • Implement infrastructure and design measures to improve road safety, especially around schools.
    • Address and prevent anti-social behaviour linked to transportation.
  • Health:
    • Promote and encourage physically active and sustainable modes of travel such as walking and cycling.
  • Environment:
    • Promote the use of sustainable transport modes to help reduce congestion and improve air quality within the environment.
  • Education:
    • Link school travel plans and sustainable transport to the school curriculum to promote good habits later in life.
    • Educate and inform parents, children and teachers about sustainable transport options and safety issues.
    • Consult and work with pupils in the development and implementation of their School Travel Plans.

Local Data

4.0 According to the Census 2021, Tameside had a population of 231,073. Of these, Department for Education returns recorded 37,758 pupils in state funded schools. This has increased gradually over the past 5 years.

Year Number of Pupils in All State Funded Schools
2017-18 36,584
2018-19 37,019
2019-20 37,404
2020-21 37,467
2021-22 37,672
2022-23 37,758

4.1 The number of educational establishments, from primary to sixth form/further education level in Tameside is as follows:

Primary Schools Number
Academy 33
Community School 19
Voluntary Aided School 18
Voluntary Controlled School 6


Secondary Schools Number
Academy 10
Community School 4
Voluntary Aided School 2


Special Schools Number
Primary 2
Secondary 3
Pupil Referral Service 2


Further Education Number
Sixth Form 2
FE College 1

4.2 Data from the Census 2021 shows that 73.9% of the households in the borough have access to a vehicle (car or van), with 30.5% having access to more than one vehicle per household – it is possible that these households will be more likely to take their child to school through private transport.

Number of cars or vans %
No cars or vans in household 26.1
1 car or van in household 43.4
2 cars or vans in household 23.9
3 or more cars or vans in household 6.6

4.3 The 2018-19 Sport England Active Lives Survey shows that only 44.3% of children and young people aged 5-16 in Tameside are active for 60 minutes or more every day. 22.4% do not reach an average of 60 minutes per day and 33.3% do less than an average of 30 minutes a day.

36.2% of children in Tameside finish primary school as either overweight or obese, and we know that physical activity has a role to play in these figures. 25% of children in Tameside are also classified as living below the poverty line (after housing costs), and the Active Lives Survey shows that young people from less affluent households are more likely to be less active.

4.4 One of the biggest barriers for those who might walk or cycle to school is the speed and volume of traffic, especially around schools where anti-social parking, idling or poor driving exacerbates the dangers. GM-level data shows that the 'school run' is a significant part of peak time congestion, especially in the mornings. 2021 travel diary data shows that 9.9% of neighbourhood trips in Greater Manchester are for 'escort to education', accounting for over 75,000 trips per day. By comparison, information from Transport for London in 2018 shows that a quarter of weekday morning peak car trips are for school drop-offs in London.

Key Strategies: National and Local Policy

5.0 The development of the Tameside Sustainable Modes of Travel Strategy will be informed by the following national legislation and local policies:

National Legislation Implications for Sustainable Travel
Department for Education and Skills – Education and Inspections Act (2006) Places an extended duty on local authorities to provide free transport for the most disadvantaged families. A further general duty is placed on local authorities to promote the use of sustainable travel and transport to and from places of education, including pre and after school clubs and journeys between institutions during the day.
Education and Skills Act 2008 Increased the minimum age at which a person can leave education or training to eighteen for those born after 1 September 1997. The Act also introduced a number of other changes including the right of choice and appeal for young people regarding their sixth form college, and placing duties on the Learning and Skills Council regarding payment and finance of courses for both children and adults. The provision of transport and the promotion of sustainable transport use is expanded to include these students.
School Information (England) Regulation 2002 Requires local authorities to publish a Sustainable Modes of Travel Strategy document.
The School Travel (Pupils with Dual Registration) (England) Regulations 2007 Deals with the needs of home educated children or children who are registered at more than one qualifying school (other than pupil referral units).
Public Health England: Road Injury Prevention – Resources to Support Schools to Promote Safe Active Travel 2016 Resource document which presents a snapshot of data highlighting key messages of relevance to schools, signposts to a range of resources that are available to support effective road safety education across key stages 1-4, and shares some examples from local practice by outlining steps that some schools have taken to promote safe active travel.
Promoting Physical Activity for Children and Young People, NICE guidelines [PH17] January 2009 Covers promoting physical activity for children and young people aged under 18 at home, preschool, school and in the community. It includes raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity, listening to what children and young people want, planning and providing spaces and facilities, and helping families build physical activity into their daily lives.
Equality Act 2010 Local Authorities need to ensure that their transport polices do not unlawfully discriminate in relation to protected characteristics or contravene the Human Rights Act and also that they comply with the statutory School Transport Guidance. This makes clear, for example, that the same provision for transport should be made to enable the child of non religious parents to attend a maintained school if the parent feels that this is important in view of his own belief system, as is made to enable the child of religious parents to attend a faith school which is not the nearest to their home.


GM Strategies Implications for Sustainable Travel
GM Vision Zero Strategy (Draft) – GMCA - 2023 Lays out a GM-wide strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. Includes the development of Active Neighbourhoods, School Streets and Bus and Streets for All corridors.
Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 Sets out Greater Manchester's long-term ambition to provide a transport system which: supports sustainable economic growth and the efficient and effective movement of people and goods; improves the quality of life for all by being integrated, affordable and reliable; protects our environment and supports our target to be net zero carbon by 2038 as well as improving air quality; and capitalises on new technology and innovation.
GM Streets for All Part of the wider Greater Manchester Transport Strategy, Streets for All places a strong emphasis on reducing traffic and road danger and on improving the environment for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.
GM Clean Air Plan Latest plans include investment in cleaner buses, taxis and measures to manage traffic flows on some roads in Manchester and Salford – using funding already awarded to Greater Manchester by government. The evidence suggests that successful implementation would lead to GM meeting legal limits for nitrogen dioxide in 2025.
5-Year Environmental Plan for GM (2019-2024) Sets out Greater Manchester's long-term environmental vision – to be carbon neutral by 2038 – and the urgent actions we all need to take in the next five years to help achieve this.


Local Policies Implications for Sustainable Travel
Tameside Climate Change and Environment Strategy Lays out local plans to reduce carbon emissions in Tameside through improving greenspace and biodiversity, increasing the energy efficiency of homes, workshops and council buildings, influencing others, reducing consumption and procuring sustainably, and reduce the environmental impact of travel and transport.
Home to School Transport Policy (for students aged 5 to 16) This policy describes Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council’s approach to travel between home and school, nursery, college, a pupil referral unit.
Transport Policy Statement for Students Aged 16-19 in Further Education - Full Policy This policy has been developed to meet the statutory requirements, in respect of transport arrangements for Tameside residents aged 16-19 year olds in full time, continuing education. It will also be relevant to those young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability aged 16 – 24.


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