Plans to axe funding for nursery school transport for special educational needs children have been dropped.

Shropshire Council had proposed scrapping the nursery transport and asking for a minimum contribution of £437.50 for post-16 education transport.

But following public consultation the council has reduced the minimum contribution for post-16 education transport to £280; while it will continue to provide SEND nursery transport.

It is still an increase on the current £142.50 charge, but councillors said they were pleased with the reduction in how severe the cuts are.

The move was agreed at cabinet on Wednesday.

Councillor Roger Evans said: “I welcome the reduction in what the council proposes to charge and that the move is not as severe as once planned.

“However, this will still hit the poorest hard and cause problems for many families.

“My heart goes out to them.”

Councillor Ed  Potter, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Nobody likes making these changes and we do think of those who are impacted.

“But the proposals here before cabinet are far less severe than the original plans that came here before consultation.

“We have listened to that and we have reduced the contribution. Yes it is an increase but it is not as big as it once was.

“It is important to emphasise that this will not affect people already in the system. This will only be for new intake.

“Our charges and services also compare very favourably to neighbouring authorities.”

Karen Bradshaw, director of children’s services, said the changes were made after listening to members of the public.

In her report to cabinet, she said: “The council is committed to providing efficient, integrated transport services whilst ensuring that its statutory duties are met.

“Financial pressures mean that the council has identified a £717k savings target attributed to school transport, including those transport functions which are discretionary in nature.

“The council’s passenger transport services has introduced a number of innovative transport solutions in recent years to reduce the pressure on the home to school transport budget and while these have been and continue to be successful, in order to realise a significant budget reduction a policy change is needed.

“There are a number of other projects that are being undertaken to achieve this savings target in addition to the proposals within this report.”

She added: “The council has undertaken a seven-week consultation about the proposals within the report during March, April and May 2019 with various stakeholders including elected members, schools and colleges, parent advocacy groups, voluntary and community sectors, and town and parish councils.

“The consultation was extended into May 2019 following feedback received by parents and carers during the consultation period.

“Following this period, the results of this consultation have now been analysed and compiled before returning to cabinet for a decision.

“It is important to note that the original proposals were amended in light of the comments received during the consultation.”