If LEA has to provide school transport does child have to be accompanied?

(30 Posts)
TerrysNo2 Sun 28-Jul-13 21:24:16

Just that really. Currently in the process of moving house and hope to exchange this week. Local school is full and nearest with spaces is 7 miles away. I read that if its more than 2 miles the LEA must provide transport but how does this work?

Can the child go unaccompanied? Not keen on this at all as DS is going into reception but DH and I both leave the house at 7.30/8am for work and don't return until 6pm and I don't think the childminder would be able to do this as she has other kids at the local school.

Anyone know how this works?

Thanks!

spanieleyes Sun 28-Jul-13 21:28:50

In our LA children come in a mini- bus type taxi with a driver and chaperone ( we have around a dozen children) We have had single/two or three children brought by taxi before without the chaperone. All drivers are CRB cleared. The children are dropped off and picked up from the school doorway and are supervised on and off the premises. We have several children in Reception every year who travel by taxi.

TerrysNo2 Sun 28-Jul-13 21:33:07

OK, so logistically it can work but I feel very sad at the thought of DS getting to school this way. I was so looking forward to him being able to walk to school.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed a space comes up!

Bunbaker Sun 28-Jul-13 21:34:49

Can you find a childminder who lives near to the school instead?

TammyandJune Sun 28-Jul-13 21:35:49

My DS began reception going on the school (mini)bus. Like spaniel there are a dozen kids but no chaperone, they all look after themselves. They are all going to one of just two schools. However, although the school is many miles away and is our nearest faith school the bus isn't free - more than £700 per year. Don't be sure that just because the nearer school is full that you will qualify for transport. I think the rules vary from one LA to another.

TerrysNo2 Sun 28-Jul-13 22:12:07

It's not really possible for us as we only have one car which DH takes to work so I need to be able to walk to the childminders.

mummytime Mon 29-Jul-13 06:22:24

Faith schools are a different issue. If it is the closest school with a place then they have to provide free transport.

However just be pleased you don't live in London where I believe they count the free bus travel as enough to cover the transport issue, so 4 year olds are expected to go to school by scheduled bus. Even if it is a Taxi, the drivers tend to stay with a pupil and supervise them well.

IrisWildthyme Mon 29-Jul-13 06:48:49

quite the opposite in some LEAs the transport is for the child ONLY and if the parent wants to accompany (e.g if there is a school awards assembley) you either aren't allowed in the vehicle at all or have to pay!

The transport will probably only be timed for actual school start and end times - if you want your child to use breakfast club or after school club to fit in with your working hours you will be on your own.

Runningchick123 Mon 29-Jul-13 06:49:42

Different authorities provide different things with regard to school transport.
Most LAs will only provide a chaperone / passenger assistant if the child has additional / medical needs which require a chaperone to be present. They don't provide a chaperone for chidren without additional needs because its too expensive - they will have to pay for the chaperones wages as well as the taxi to collect and return the chaperone home.
Some authorities won't provide a taxi at all - they will provide a bus pass or cost of a bus pass and you will have to get the child there yourself as your work commitments are not their responsibility. Sadly this policy is becoming more commonplace with the council cutbacks.
You need to look at the school transport policy for the authority in the question (shoud be available online).

Runningchick123 Mon 29-Jul-13 06:56:19

In addition to my post above; what are you going to do before and after school as you say that you will be out between 7.30am and 6pm and therefore you will still need childcare as if the LA do provide a taxi it will only be for school start and finish times and only to your home address (as they might put your child in the taxi with other children).

I think your best bet is to find a childminder local to the new school and drop your child there in the morning either by bus or by getting another car or paying for a taxi yourself, especially as the local authority might only provide the cost of a bus pass.

Where I am there's a minibus to the nearest primary school and they have a chaperone on it so it really must depend on the LA. I'm already feeling sad at dd having to get a bus next year!

Lucky13 Mon 29-Jul-13 12:39:03

DD gets a minibus to school (Yr R) and there is no chaperone. There are 3 other Yr R children and to be honest, I'm not overly keen on it for a number of reasons but mainly due to safety.

Fuzzymum1 Mon 29-Jul-13 12:48:15

There's a child at DS3's school who moved a few miles away - as there was no space at the local school the LEA provide a taxi to bring him to school here - it's just him and the taxi driver in the car but it's always the same person.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Jul-13 12:51:30

It's quite normal round here for primary kids to go to school on a mini bus. At dd's old school it was just the driver, no chaperone. I went to school on a bus from the age of 5 and was ok.

Parents/childminder puts kids on the bus, teachers are at the other end. The drivers tend to be really good with the kids as well.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Jul-13 12:53:43

And if its just your dc then the lea will provide a taxi. With a special enhanced crb checked driver and it will be the same driver the majority of the time.

A word of warning. I have frequently seen our local school run taxi drivers drop children off with children not in car seats, not even seat belts and hanging out of the windows. I have complained to the school but haven't had any replies.

Why on earth the parents are putting their children in these taxis in the mornings without seeing them safely strapped into a car seat, I don't know.

So personally, I'd look at any and every other option available before putting my children in an LEA "approved" taxi.

lljkk Mon 29-Jul-13 13:01:09

Taxi for sure. They will be CRB'd but not necessary nice drivers.

I am a chaperone on a school taxi (ah yes, the glamour) and around here the times are aligned to pickup/drop off of school times, ie children are picked up at 8.30 and dropped back at 3.30.

They would probably pick up from/drop of a childminders house as long as it was still fulfilling the distance criteria (ie you find a cm fairly close to home) but it is worth giving the LA a ring to check.

Fwiw, the dc really enjoy going on the minibus here - they call it the funbus smile the driver is lovely and takes really good care of them - his driving is noticeably slower and safer than when it is just the two of us adults in the car!

Drivers and chaperones are enhanced crb checked and in this borough I have to have 11 hours of training to be a chaperone (total flipping overkill IMO, but there you go).

On the car seat thing - taxis are exempt from 'needing' car seats but we have children that need them so their parents supply a booster which we keep ready for use.

I always make sure all the children are strapped in securely - it is my job!

TerrysNo2 Mon 29-Jul-13 13:08:35

bucks CBC, where we are moving, just told me they provide a taxi but not until DS is 5 so that means he would be unable to get to school for the first 2 months unless we pay for it.

I'm really really hoping we get in!!

TerrysNo2 Mon 29-Jul-13 13:08:59

bloody auto spell "bucks CC"!

Have they said that over the phone Terry? Seems a bit strange... I think I would call again and double check and then you can ask about the childminders potential.

TerrysNo2 Mon 29-Jul-13 14:39:47

yes they said that on the phone. I assume it's because you don't legally have to start school until you're 5 they don't legally have to help until then??

That seems v.odd. Ok, if it were me I would wait to exchange (so you are definitely going to be applying for a place) and then call back and ask to speak with the head of the school transport section.

All I can think is that they are fobbing you off as you are not yet placed in that further away school. Once you have applied and been given the place I am sure they cannot defer the transport to start.

Smartiepants79 Mon 29-Jul-13 15:07:29

Yes it will be because he doesn't legally have to be in school so they don't have to provide anything for him.
At our school there was a couple of families who had to have transport for the same reason. The children came in the taxi, alone.

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