10:21 Thursday 30 January 2014

Council plans revamp of transport to school

Written byROB SMYTH

PARENTS and schools are being urged to ‘have their say’ on proposed changes to home to school transport in North West Leicestershire.

Leicestershire County Council is proposing a new transport policy because the growth of the number of schools and academies and secondary age range changes have created transport issues and the prospect of increased costs.

The authority is now seeking views on new proposals, which include:

l Only providing free transport to the nearest available academy or maintained school if it is over two miles for children in primary education and three miles for secondary education; and

l Continuing to provide discretionary travel for those aged 16 or above at a charge of £425 per year, but only to their nearest school or college.

Peter Osborne (pictured), Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The growth of academies, which can set their own catchment areas and age ranges, has created a transport problem.

“It means that pupils can be eligible to attend a number of different schools, however far away from their home – with the council picking up the costs.

“A new, easy-to-understand home to school transport policy would solve these problems and enable us to avoid additional costs in the future.”

Currently, the council provides statutory free transport to children living more than two miles away from their catchment primary school or three miles away from their catchment secondary school.

But this policy has been complicated by the development of schools with different, often overlapping, catchment areas.

This means many children are now eligible to attend a number of different schools, leaving the council with the problem of transport costs increasing in the future unless it changes its transport policy.

More information is available online at www.leics.gov.uk/school_college_transport

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