Cost of post 16 school transport. Is it legal?

(52 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Sun 26-Apr-15 07:43:48

I live in a rural area and the nearest secondary schools are nearly ten miles away.

School buses pick up the village kids but in sixth form there's a charge of £400 a year for this. The argument was always that kids don't have to stay on after Year 11 so if they choose to then they must pay for the bus.

My argument is that now it is compulsory to continue some form of education or training then there is no difference in whether you're in sixth form or Year 11.

Is it worth challenging this cost? The cost is currently subsidised and the council are thinking of removing the subsidy so God knows how much it will cost then.

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 26-Apr-15 07:47:05

Its a really ambiguous area. We have the same in my LEA with disabled children in special schools out of area. Potentially quite significant distances to travel, unable to access normal transport but LEA are not obliged post 16. My eldest DS is 11 so the problem hasn't hit me yet.

Bonsoir Sun 26-Apr-15 07:52:34

If your DC are attending their nearest school and pursuing education according to the law, you may well have a case. Interesting! Fight it!

fourcorneredcircle Sun 26-Apr-15 07:56:53

Sadly the LEA are indeed not obliged to pay for post 16 transport even for the nearest school/college/sixth form despite te changes in law that all students should be in education/training past 16. This is a massive hole in the budgeting and has adversely affected rural parents in particular. In fairness to LEAs there was a report given to government about how they would need funding to support this that was ignored. I think LEAs want to help they are just stretched so thin and their budgets (money initially allocated from the government) will take years to catch up to what they need.

BaronessEllaSaturday Sun 26-Apr-15 07:59:31

My argument is that now it is compulsory to continue some form of education or training then there is no difference in whether you're in sixth form or Year 11

Unfortunately your argument loses ground because the school part isn't compulsory only some form of education or training is. Our local council cut all subsidies for sixth form travel two years ago thankfully though our school itself contracts the service so they subsidise it instead

VivaLeBeaver Sun 26-Apr-15 08:07:32

I get the argument that they don't have to stay on at sixth form but could go to college. But the council don't pay college transport costs either.

The thing about the nearest school is interesting as well. The school dd goes to isn't the nearest. There are two catchment schools for our village and buses for both. The one the majority of kids go to is half a mile further away. I've heard rumours of the transport costs been looked at for this, that they might stop providing fre transport for the under 16s as its not the nearest school. Which is crazy, the nearest school is a much smaller secondary school and wouldn't have space for all the village kids.

A small number of kids also go to a grammar school in another town which is about four miles further away and the council are looking at making all kids inc under 16s pay for this. Id be furious if I was a parent with a child at the grammar school. The council and LEA have a grammar school system in the area and part of that system is that if you pass the 11plus then the grammar is slightly further.

Who do I fight it with? I've emailed a district councillor already who says she will bring my points up. But I know I'm just going to get flannel about budget cuts and they need to make savings....etc.

titchy Sun 26-Apr-15 10:28:46

They have to provide free transport for year 11 and below if the school is over three miles away and is the nearest school WITH PLACES, so if your child wouldn't have got a place at the nearer school because it is much smaller they would be entitled to free transport still to the next nearest.

Not sure who you'd fight it with tbh. They don't HAVE to go to school or even college so it's not a statutory right they're removing. I'm in the same position and it galls, though at least dc continue to pay child fares. But at least our LEA does provide free transport to those from pupil premium families which is something.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 26-Apr-15 10:32:33

Thanks.

The nearer, smaller school isn't very popular so does normally have spaces. So I guess they can stop paying the transport costs for all the kids who go to the school 1/2 mile further away if they wanted to.

prh47bridge Sun 26-Apr-15 10:49:34

The law is clear. Compulsory education ends at age 16. Thereafter there is no legal entitlement to free transport. The new law that requires education or training post 16 is carefully worded to ensure that the right to free transport is not extended to older pupils. Councils can provide free transport if they wish but they do not have to do so.

Horsemad Sun 26-Apr-15 11:11:52

prh47bridge, can you link to that law please?

Viva, I agree; I'm in the same county as you and our nearest school with 6th form provision is 7 miles away. Nearest college is 15 miles away.
It's a bloody joke!

RudyMentary Sun 26-Apr-15 11:14:20

We will be paying nearly £2000 a year from September.

Interesting - I haven't thought to challenge it.

Horsemad Sun 26-Apr-15 11:25:05

shock That's a heck of a lot of money Rudy

prh47bridge Sun 26-Apr-15 12:13:04

The Education and Skills Act 2008 sets out the requirements for post 16 education or training. Crucially S1 specifies that it applies to young people who are no longer of compulsory school age. The legislation governing free school transport is clear that only pupils of compulsory school age are entitled.

Horsemad Sun 26-Apr-15 12:14:23

Thanks for that smile

VivaLeBeaver Sun 26-Apr-15 12:26:49

It's compulsary they're in school till 16 and transport is paid.

It's compulsary they're in something till 18 (school, college, apprenticeship) but transport for that isn't paid.

It's a bit shit really. I know someone who next year will have three kids in sixth form. So will have to find over £1200 a year as things stand. If they take the subsidised rate away here then it could be £1000s.

gazzalw Sun 26-Apr-15 14:54:24

Does this apply to children living in London too, do any of you know?

titchy Sun 26-Apr-15 15:05:47

Gazz - London operates under the same legal system as the rest of England you know........

TfL however offers 16-18 Oyster card which entitles the holder to free bus fares if they are a London borough resident.

(But not if you live just outside London - all you get is half price grrrrrr.)

headlesslambrini Sun 26-Apr-15 15:20:47

DS wants to go to a argricultural college in Sept which means that we will have to fund his accomodation costs which will be in the region of around £5-£6 thousand a year depending on which accomodation he is allocated. If he was to travel which would be approx 3hrs a day then he would get help with the travel costs from the college bursery fund (not means tested) but doesn't get anything for accomodation which is means tested. Havent got a clue how the hell we are going to afford this for the next 2 years!

VivaLeBeaver Sun 26-Apr-15 15:33:01

lambrini. Oddly enough the exception to the rule here of post 16yos having to pay is for those attending agriculture college. They get free transport.

Horsemad Sun 26-Apr-15 15:35:57

Do they really Viva ? That's interesting, surely that is discriminatory?

VivaLeBeaver Sun 26-Apr-15 15:57:27

I know, it's very odd isn't it.

The designated college means (in most cases) the college nearest to your home. Transport will not be agreed to any alternative college even if the course is not available at the nearest. The only exceptions are:

- Students with recognised learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LLDD) who need to attend a specialist college or where the nearest college does not meet your needs as agreed by the LLDD Panel

- Students taking Level 2 or above Land Based courses (as listed below) at specialist colleges where the home to the nearest college journey does not exceed 45 miles and the course is not available at a nearer college. Courses for which transport provision will be considered are:

- Agriculture
- Environmental Studies
- Horticulture
- Arboriculture
- Large animal Management

chocolatelife Sun 26-Apr-15 16:01:29

not only transport costs but also some courses have charges. bit rich considering it is compulsory.

laughingcow13 Sun 26-Apr-15 16:44:50

We have to pay £480 per annum.A jump from £360 in one fell swoop.
There is a bursary for those with a household income of less than £20,000

Frikadellen Sun 26-Apr-15 16:56:42

Same in our area next school year we are paying £800 for x3 school passes as our lea only pays for 3nearest schools. We have chosen different to 3closest for Ds and dd3, and due to this have to pay for their bus passes. If dd2 had not been in one of the 3closest schools it would have been £1000.

£200x2 ( or 3 if dd2 in different school) +400 = 800 (1000)
I am putting money aside monthly for it only way we can manage to pay for it.

Frikadellen Sun 26-Apr-15 17:14:52

Viva I had missed your grammar school comment. Ds is in a grammar school it is not one of our closest 3 school (technically it is our 8th closest but one is a boys super selective grammar and one a girls super selective grammar ) dd3 will attend the 5th closest school. The closest and 2nd closest are both in different counties to us, the closest school dd1 and2 attends is as I said in different county and is 9.1 miles away. We didn't pick it for dd3 as we know she needs different to what this school can give. Been very happy with it for dd1 and 2.

Every year when secondary schools allocations come out are there shock over the amount some parents have to pay for their school choices. The nearest no selective girls grammar from where we live comes with a £700 train ticket price tag. I know one family this year didn't put this down for their dd who had passes the 11+as they didn't feel they could afford it being just above the line of getting aid by about £100.

There is also a huge amount of misunderstanding of how the school bus allocation work. One actually thought they would get only the closest in our county another that it was just the closest 3 of their preferences one that was for all schools as their much older sibling had been paid for and yet another that as they had picked a grammar school and their child had passed 11+ only grammar schools would be counted in distance. One friend argued it was wrong they didn't get paid as a friend living 3 miles away had could not see that distance had made a difference in yacht 3 schools were the closest. Yet another felt it unfair the child who had got none of their 4 (sensible) preferences would get paid for attending the allocated school when she had it as. 2nd choice and had to pay.

The rules are pretty simple the 3 closest schools to your address grammar schools do not count unless your child has passed 11+.

We picked the schools for our youngest 2 knowing they came with a price tag I am not happy about it however I feel they both need the chosen school to develop to their full potential. So I will find they money.

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