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Bradford Council cuts help with school travel
New pupils who do not attend the nearest school to their home will no longer receive discretionary travel assistance from next year, Bradford Council has ruled.
The Council has also revised its school travel policy to give parents and young people more choice following a public consultation.
The withdrawal of discretionary travel assistance will eventually save the authority £140,000 a year as the 400 children who now receive it will continue to do so until they leave their school or leave statutory education at 16.
The change will affect families who choose to send their children to a school further away from their nearest one.
If the nearest school has no places, the Council will provide travel assistance if the alternative school is over the statutory walking limits which are two miles for under eights and three miles for those eight or over.
People applying for schools, sixth form and colleges during 2013/14 and who start in those schools and colleges on or after September 1, 2014 will be assessed using the new policy.
The policy was revised in the light of the findings from a widespread public consultation, the Council’s budget position after September 2014 and the expected increase in the school population.
The 11-week consultation, from November 2012 to January 2013, asked parents and carers for their views – along with the public, schools, colleges and councillors.
The changes affect the discretionary section of the policy where the Council has no duty to provide assistance under legislation and include: l The removal of discretionary travel assistance to those children not attending their nearest school.
l The introduction of an increased mileage allowance for travel between home and school to allow parents to arrange their own travel provision between home and school.
l The introduction of a travel training assessment for all post-16 students who are eligible for travel assistance. They will be trained to use public transport and will receive an appropriate bus or train pass to allow them to travel independently to sixth form or college.
The scheme will also see the introduction of a charge for transport equivalent to the cost of a School Plus Metrocard for students between the ages of 16 and 18 who require dedicated transport.
Councillor Ralph Berry, executive member for children’s services, said: “The new policy, which comes into effect on September 1, 2014, gives a wider choice of travel options for those who benefit from travel assistance, including independent travel training.
“This will allow young people to learn a new life skill and lead more independent lives.”
The Council said the changes also provide a level playing field for all post-16 students and there will also be an introduction of a personal budget up to a maximum of £500 per term, £1,500 per year for post-16 students who would require dedicated transport to allow them to arrange their own travel.
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