Bradford children’s free bus travel set to be cut

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kath Tunstall Kath Tunstall

Free transport for pupils attending faith schools and under fives with special needs could be a thing of the past by the start of the next school year.

Bradford Council plans to reduce the number of children who qualify for assisted school transport in response to upcoming budget reductions of £89 million over the next two years.

A consultation to gauge the views of parents, teachers, governors and other interested parties began yesterday and runs until February 13.

The Council agreed to review its policy last April after an 11-week consultation, and the findings of that review concluded that a number of discretionary free transport services should now face the chop.

But despite cuts to a number of different groups, pupils who already receive free transport will not be affected.

The results of the latest consultation will go before the Council executive before a final decision is made.

Among the groups who could see free home to school transport pulled are:

  • children aged two to five undergoing statutory assessment for a statement of special educational needs, or who already have a statement and who need specialised transport 
  • pupils who, because of their faith, attend certain schools that are over statutory walking distances, although it will continue for those who receive free school meals 
  • pupils whose parents have moved home, but decided to keep them at the original school 
  • pupils who attend a school that is beyond the statutory walking distance from their home.

Excluded pupils attending a pupil referral unit will also have automatic free transport withdrawn unless there are no such units within the statutory walking distance from their home.

For primary schools that distance is 1.5 miles and for secondary school pupils it is two miles.

Kath Tunstall, strategic director for children’s services, said: “The home to school/college travel policy was revised partly as a result of the comments made following the previous consultation. Now the Council is keen to hear from a wide range of people on the proposed changes to the budget associated with the revised policy to assist councillors in making decisions.”

The consultation report adds: “Those children already in receipt of travel assistance will continue to receive that assistance unless their circumstances change, they move school or college or the Council feels it necessary to make further policy changes.”

Dr David Lee, Archdeacon of Bradford Diocese which runs several Catholic schools, said: “We understand the huge financial pressures on the local authority, and we will consider these proposals and respond in due course.”

The proposals are available to view at bradford.gov.uk/bmdc/consultations.

Comments (4)

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9:19am Tue 7 Jan 14

allannicho says...

Yes yes yes!
Yes yes yes! allannicho
  • Score: 7

10:45am Tue 7 Jan 14

Albion. says...

allannicho wrote:
Yes yes yes!
Don't get excited! :-)
[quote][p][bold]allannicho[/bold] wrote: Yes yes yes![/p][/quote]Don't get excited! :-) Albion.
  • Score: 2

11:10am Tue 7 Jan 14

angry bradfordian says...

It's a bit of a joke that it's taken the cuts to highlight the numerous things the council seemed to think it was acceptable to spend our money on and this is just the latest.

It seems completely unreasonable that people who either move house during their children's education or decide to send their children to a school based on religion should have their travel paid for.
Surely if you have kids then living near their school should be the number one priority?
It's a bit of a joke that it's taken the cuts to highlight the numerous things the council seemed to think it was acceptable to spend our money on and this is just the latest. It seems completely unreasonable that people who either move house during their children's education or decide to send their children to a school based on religion should have their travel paid for. Surely if you have kids then living near their school should be the number one priority? angry bradfordian
  • Score: 11

3:16pm Tue 7 Jan 14

The Hoffster says...

allannicho wrote:
Yes yes yes!
Wonder if you'd be so ecstatic if if was *your* child involved.... ?
[quote][p][bold]allannicho[/bold] wrote: Yes yes yes![/p][/quote]Wonder if you'd be so ecstatic if if was *your* child involved.... ? The Hoffster
  • Score: -3

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