Home To School Transport – Questions/Responses
The following questions were raised at the Local Area Forum March 28th, please see the responses received from Buckinghamshire County Council.
How will the changes be implemented in Iver, given that there was a ‘special arrangement’ locally?
Those already in receipt of free transport will not be impacted by the change and will retain transport until they complete their statutory education at Chalfont Community College. The special arrangement in Iver will cease from 2020, when Year 7 students enter secondary school in September. The special arrangement offered children in the area free transport to both Khalsa Academy and Chalfont Community College (although the Khalsa Academy is likely to have been closest). From 2020 entry, free transport will no longer be offered to Chalfont Community College if Khalsa Academy is closer. It is expected that there will be school transport continuing to run to Chalfont Community College and applications for transport will be accepted and parents/carers will be required to contribute towards the cost of the transport where a seat is given.
There will be no immediate changes to school bus transport provision. Any changes involving public buses will be planned and communicated in a timely manner prior to any changes being made.
Is the County Council exploring options to place children at bordering schools, in this case Langley (Slough), where there were existing transport routes? (this might be a FAQ asking – What if there is a school in another LA that is closer than the nearest Buckinghamshire school – can I express a preference and would I get transport?)
It has always been possible in the allocation process to express a preference for a school in a neighbouring authority. Buckinghamshire parents can include Slough, Hillingdon or any other county/borough school preferences in England and be considered for a place there. If a school place is offered in another area and if the school is the nearest to the home, then transport entitlement may be agreed subject to the national transport rules. The national transport rules mean that free transport is offered where the school attended is the nearest school to the home and the distance is greater than three miles, or where it is less than three miles but is along an unsafe walking route.
If the allocation is to the nearest school in Buckinghamshire then we will provide transport again subject to the national transport rules (see above). Please note, we would not require that the parent applied for a nearer school in another authority before approving transport to the nearest Buckinghamshire school.
For families that qualify under low income rules, then if the school is more than two miles from the home and is one of the three nearest schools then free transport would be provided.
What coordination does Bucks have with neighbouring authorities?
At the main transfer points (entry to reception, junior transfer and secondary transfer) we coordinate fully with other Local Authorities. Parents can express preferences anywhere and we will work with the other authority to manage the allocation across the county boundary. In-year applications are managed within each authority.