to think the local authority should measure the distance of the actual journey (re: school transport)(21 Posts)
and not 'as the crow flies'?
We live in a village and DD (13, year 8) goes to our nearest high school which is in the next town and she was getting the school bus.
The local authority have now decided that actually, DD isn't entitled to use the bus anymore as we live within 3 miles of the school.
Technically, our house is just a squeak on the inside of the 3 mile limit (looking at their map, the line runs along the middle of our road), however, as DD can't climb fences, cut through other peoples' gardens, trespass in farmers' fields and swim across a river every morning and afternoon the actual journey she will need to take is substantially more than 3 miles - which is along an unlit NSL road with no footpath, then a busy A road (also with no footpath for the majority of it) navigate a massive roundabout and finally along a dual carriageway
Or, she can use the public bus, which is infrequent, doesn't run anywhere near the times we need, goes all round the houses so takes forever and isn't direct
The school bus still comes into the village and picks up everyone else (there's about 3 children, including DD that I know of that's been affected) so it seems like a complete nonsense to me
What makes me really cross about the whole thing is until 2 years ago, there was a fab secondary school in the next village along, much closer and easily walkable but the council built a huge new school in town, and merged them, meaning all the kids now have to be bussed into town and now they're quibbling about a couple of metres.
quote this at them
"The Courts have defined an available route as one 'along which a child accompanied as necessary can walk and walk with reasonable safety to school. It does not fail to qualify as 'available’ because of dangers which would arise if the child is unaccompanied"
Also dispute it with them, I think if you say it is longer then they have to actually measure the distance with someone walking with one of those distance wheels not using a map.
ah yes, the old 'as the crow flies' which is what estate agents and google maps also use.
given your daughter can't fly, it is nonsense. Do as 'sassh' says.
No, they've offered me a pass which I can buy for her to use on the public bus. It's cheaper than paying the normal bus fare every day, but it's still pretty useless. I'd be happy to pay for her to use the school bus
At the moment, DH has been dropping her and my next door neighbour's daughter off on his way work in the morning, and my neighbour picks them both up
It seems so ridiculous when the half empty school bus drives past the end of our road every morning and afternoon
Sorry, cross posts.
Will get back onto them. They just keep quoting their map at me which shows our house just inside the line.
I zeroed the mile counter on my car and driven it, it's nearer 4 miles.
Im sorry but should the tax player be paying to send your child to school, thats an expense that the parents should pick up.
Territt a fair argument if she was sending her child to some distant school out of choice but this is the nearest one due to the choices of the LEA and it is compulsory (home schooling aside) for the child to go to school...
Yes, Territt16, journeys to school over certain qualifying distances are at the council tax payers' expense and have been for donkey's years.
As it is your nearest school and the safe walking distance is over 3 miles, she should qualify for free transport (crow flies distances can be used for admissions criteria, but not for transport).
But this can mean free termtime bus pass, as the entitlement is to free transport and not for a specific type, and it is reasonable for secondary school pupils to use public transport safely.
But I'd keep pressing the council to get her reinstated on the bus, if it has empty seats. (Though if they are trying to cut the bus service, this might be hard to secure when there is other public transport available even if less convenient. If however it's utterly unworkable for the school day, add that to your case).
OP, ask for details of the appeals procedure and use it. If you're more than three miles away without using the non-valid crow flying measurement and the public bus service is so inadequate, your daughter should be entitled by law to free home to school transport.
Appeal the decision - there will be a mechanism which will probably involve a hearing in front of a council appeals sub-committee comprising (mainly) elected members. You'll be able to make your case there and the Council's Education Transport providers will have to measure distance with one of those wheel things.
(If you have identified safety issues, they'll also have to provide a health and safety assessment.)
Does it really matter how the distance is measured, as long as it is the same rule for everyone?
Some sort of formula needs to be used, obviously, but there are always people who will fare better under one method and not as well under another.
It's swings and roundabouts, whatever you do.
It's probably already been said but make it clear that you are applying under the 'no safe walking route' criteria and not the distance criteria.
They HAVE to use walking distance not crow flies when determining eligibility for transport. So she is eligible.
In our area the admissions criteria is based on a direct line (as the crow flies) but once you have a place the transport is worked out on the basis of the shortest appropriate route on foot from gate to gate. As you have rightly pointed out, your DD can't take the same route as a crow so needs to use roads and footpaths. I don't think they even take fields into account tbh - I think it has to be a proper track to count.
I would definitely appeal. I don't know if it is legal to do what they are doing, but it is ridiculous that they could actually sell the empty seats on the bus to those 3 children affected.
All LAs seem to be looking at school transport to try and save money. I live in a rural area and the school transport bill is huge. They have penalised 6th formers here by massively hiking up the price of a bus pass, although after massive protest from parents and schools they agreed to stagger the increase over a couple of years. Children are being forced to stay in education for longer but the Government scrapped EMA so no money is available to students whose parents struggle unless they qualify for the student bursary - where the earnings threshold is much lower than EMA was. And before anyone says the students should get a job and fund it themselves - part time jobs are very limited and there is no publuc transport after 6.30pm.
littlejohn does the no safe walking route apply to Secondary school children? I thought that was a criteria for Primary school children - regardless of distance from the school.
Yes it applies to secondary as well as primary, but the cut-off is 3 miles once the child is 8 (2 miles before that).
If your appeal doesn't work, consult an education lawyer able to offer legal aid as it my be possible to take judicial review proceedings in your child's name.
I've just downloaded the appeal forms from their website and will appeal on them not using correct distance, ie, shortest route on foot is over 3 miles and also I don't think the route is safe for walking, accompanied or not.
The public bus service isn't really any use, well, she could use it in the afternoon ok, but the one in the morning wouldn't get her to school until nearly 10am.
I've offered to pay for a seat on the school bus but I was informed they no longer operate a "spare seat policy". Which seems ridiculous as they're running a half empty bus
They may have combined education and public transport so need to leave a guaranteed X number of seats on the bus for the general public to use if wished. It may not be without reason therefore. (Although whether you agree with that reason (whatever it is) is a different matter.)
You might find it useful, before any appeal submission or hearing, to go on to the Council website and see if you can find and read any relevant committee reports/minutes. It's always helpful to be informed, prior to the event, of the sorts of issues the council officials might raise.
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