School transport for reception age?(12 Posts)
My son has been offered a place at our 3rd choice school unfortunately, which is nearly 3 miles away. Apparently this makes us eligible for free school transport, but does anyone know how this works in practice for this age child? Presumably it's a school bus, but is there an adult on the bus to supervise them or is it just the bus driver?
If it's the latter, I have qualms about this as our son will have only just turned 4 and is a little, let's say, 'spirited'. I really hope there is someone to keep an eye on them on the journey...
Transport varies from free public transport (for the child only) to individual taxis. My dc went to a specialist unit (age 5) and had a shared taxi with an escort but I think he only got the escort because he had SEN. Taxis/minibuses provided for children without Sen didn't have escorts. As the taxis or buses are shared they can also take a convoluted route picking up other kids so even a short distance can take much longer. In any case, the journey (including walk to a pick up point if necessary) shouldn't take more than 45 mins each way.
Just realised you said 'choice' of school - If there is a school closer that he could have attended (but you chose not to) this might affect his entitlement to free transport.
Hi Blaeberry, thanks for replying - no, there isn't a closer school that we could have got in to. The 2 nearby schools we were turned down for :-(. Hmm, that's a bit worrying to hear that non-SEN children don't get an escort. 4 years old seems very young to not be supervised, although obviously we'll drive him initially until he's settled.
We are less than 2 miles from our local infant school but transport is provided because it is an unsafe walking route. The council always provided cars and the children had booster seats or suitable car seats. There was not a coach or minibus due to low numbers. I would ask the transport officers what vehicle they are providing and what the safety requirements are and how they meet their obligations. I do not believe they have to provide an escort but going in a car (people carrier) worked well and children were used to that type of vehicle. The drivers make sure the children enter the school gate too and park in a safe place so there is no need to cross a road.
You may wish to consider doing the school run yourself. Lots of parents do this when the children are young and use the transport when they are a bit older. At 3 miles, your entitlement to transport should not disappear. Here the junior child has to be 3 miles away or an unsafe route. If you decide to do the school run, ask if it is ok to sign up for transport when he is a bit older.
Depending on your location and bus routes, they could just expect you to take her on a normal bus. If they put a taxi on they may be prepared to offer you a parent contract instead and pay your mileage. As it is only three miles away, assuming you could do it (work etc.) then I would take him. You will meet mums, chat, and see the other children in the playground after school, be able to catch the teachers to speak to when necessary, get to know the area etc. You could review it again in a couple of years. Ds school and area was quite 'alien' to me; ds was settled and happy but not part of the community and neither was I (it was a lot further away).
In our area there are 3 options if you are eligible for primary school transport: LEA arranged taxis, no chaperone but specific drivers used & taxi drivers take children into reception, or they pay public bus fares for child only or they pay your petrol money but only to school in morning and home in the evening (I do this one as I wasn't keen on sending DS on his own)
We're in a rural area and nearly all the kids get to school on funded mini buses (a few outlying farms have taxis).
I was a bit worried at first, as there's just a driver, but it's been fine (dd1 is in reception). The driver definitely looks after the kids as well as driving (a at drop off he will stop the bus and bring dd1 to the door if they're early), and the kids are really good at looking after each other too (result of a very small school with classes of combined years I think). Dd1 had a 'bus buddy' allocated by the school who is in y4 and she met before the first day which helps.
I'm in a rural area and children who are entitled to free transport get a bus pass for public transport (not a school bus) which effectively means they are unescorted once they get on the bus and have to find their own way from the bus stop to school ... The person allocating the passes thought this perfectly acceptable!
We have taxis ( with special dbs cleared drivers) sometimes cars and sometimes mini buses depending on the number of children from a specific location. There is no escort UNLESS there is a child on the taxi that causes problems-whether SEN or not ( we had one who had a tendency to throw his lunchbox around the mini bus!!) However the local authority removed the escort as soon as he settled down! The older children take very good care of the younger ones and they are dropped at the door, counted in and out and all love the driver ( who lets them select the radio channel!!)
I have our mileage paid for by the council as DS was allocated a school not on our list and over 2 miles away. In our area, there were 3 options. A taxi with a chaperone - we were not allowed in the taxi as well. There were 4 children (including mine) living in the same village eligible for this. So the council were willing to pay 4 x taxis and chaperones rather than one taxi, 4 children and one parent the other options were a bus/train pass for the child or mileage paid for. I learned to drive once DS was allocated that school so I chose the option to have my mileage paid for. A train pass would work out much cheaper as I would only need to pay £35 a month for my own pass, but I prefer the quickness of driving and not relying on public transport.
My ds is eligible for transport because his sen school placement is about 5 miles away. I get my costs reimbursed because I drive him there. The other option was a shaperoned taxi service but I want keen.
I'm reimbursed for his journey to and from school, not for my travel getting back from drop off or going to obviously him up iyswim.
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