School Transport Advice?(24 Posts)
Our son is due to start secondary school in September. We and he has chose to attend a school 12 miles away from were we live, rather than go to the local secondary school.
The local school is a community academy but the school he will be attending is an academy but also a Church of England School.
We have been turned down for help with travel costs because the authority state there are places at our local school.
Could we appeal on the grounds the local school isn't a Church of England school?
Any advice would be most appreciated.
No you can't. Sorry to be so blunt but transport is only funded if you either go to your nearest/catchment school (more than 3 miles away) or the council have to send you to another one due to over subscription. Choosing another school means you have forfeited your rights to help. Harsh I'm afraid.
I think there used to be provision for choosing a school place at your nearest VA school even if it was further than your nearest maintained school, but that's discretionary now I believe.
No. Some LAs do still fund more generously than others (which is useful if you're rural, roughly equidistant from two towns and LA funds to either).
But that's becoming seriously rare. And there is no appeal against a policy which funds only to the nearest available school - which is rapidly becoming the norm as Council budgets are squeezed.
Actually, if you need support for transport costs to your nearest faith school, perhaps you could ask your Parish for a grant?
We are in this situation too OP and it's going to cost £30 per week to take a bus .
Our catchment school bus stops just across the road and the school itself is a 10 minute walk from the one we have opted for. I'm seriously tempted to just sneak DS on there .
If your child is eligible for free school meals or you receive working tax credit at the maximum rate you are entitled to free transport to this school provided it is the nearest CofE school to your home.
If you are not entitled to free school meals or working tax credit at the maximum rate I'm afraid the LA does not have to provide free transport.
Our local council used to pay transport for more distance church schools, but no longer do.
LA's used to provide free travel to the nearest faith school, but no longer. I don't think you'll get anywhere with an appeal. I would just be happy that there is a bus, and you aren't having to provide transport yourselves.
(I am in a similar position myself.)
The guidance provides that LAs must have regard to the issue of religion when deciding whether to provide transport, but that there is no statutory duty to provide free transport for schools with a religious character. Given that all community schools have to provide religious teaching and assemblies, and the Church of England doesn't demand that its followers' children attend their schools, it would be particularly difficult to argue that this is the only school your children can attend.
There was a case in 2002 where it was argued on behalf of 9 children in Leeds that they should be provided with transport to a Jewish school in Manchester as there was no Jewish school in Leeds. The court held that the council had no duty to provide transport given their limited resources and the fact that there were entirely adequate schools locally.
Just for clarity, there is no statutory duty to provide free transport for schools with a religious character EXCEPT where the child is eligible for free school meals or the parent with whom the child normally resides receives working tax credit at the maximum rate.
prh: is it just FSM these days, or all who attract the Pupil Premium?
Thank you all for your advice.
I'll make a phone call to the LA but I think we'll just have to pay the fees.
Just to add,
I just spoke to the LA. They say they didn't realise the school we applied for is a Faith School and my son was accepted on denominational grounds. We actually put this information in our covering letter !!!!!!!
They have now said there is another Faith School nearer to us, but it is actually 2 miles FURTHER away than our chosen school !!!!!!!!!
THink this is going to be ongoing
Good luck Yummy. we moved Ds1 from a school 1/2 a mile away to one 12 miles away and we have to pay for the coach. But it's so worth it to have him at a school where he's happy.
Word of warning though. DS1's paid for place on the coach is constantly reviewed , and we were told that at any time it could be withdrawn. He's been ok this year but we have to wait until August to find out if he's okay for the Autumn term. So you may want to ask about that.
Can I be nosey and ask how much it is?
Hi Yummy have you tried contacting the school or have you had parents evening yet.
In my LEA dds year group (now Y8) was the last to be funded for denominational transport (we don't qualify as we live too close) but it had to be your closest faith school in that LEA. Information about bus passes etc. was provided at the parents evening. For younger year groups there are discounted rates for bus passes etc. if you apply via the school.
If it is a faith school - of the faith of your church that you attend, you can always ask the church for a grant/allowance towards transport. I'm sure the school itself would have some link in place to facilitate this sort of thing as people often do not go to their closest school where faith is involved.
I personally don't think you should be subsidised because of your chosen beliefs.
meditrina - The relevant law predates the pupil premium and does not appear to have been updated, so it is just FSM and maximum working tax credits.
Onesleeptillwembley you probably don't believe there should be any state faith schools at all, though.
While there are state faith schools, though, I don't see why Jewish/Muslim etc children shouldn't be receive funded transport.
We are all struggling to raise your DC the best we can, financially and spiritually.
London Yes parents want the best for their child, but putting one criteria (faith) above the others is unfair. Why is faith more important that the right school for a child with SEN for example?
Either all transport to chosen school should be funded or none, singling out faith is discriminatory in my view.
Londonbus that's a remarkably wide leap. What I 'probably' believe is irrelevant. What I 'actually' believe is. By all means have religious schools if that floats peoples boats, as long as they cost no more than non religious schools. But if you choose to send your child to a school farther away than any other school then the cost of that should not be subsidised, unless it's by the religious community. Do stop stating assumptions you couldn't possibly guess at, or people will assume you're 'probably' daft.
creamteas I see what you're saying, but religion is a choice, SEN isn't, transport in those cases should absolutely be funded.
A child with SEN, disability or mobility problems has the right to free transport if he cannot reasonably be expected to walk to the school and there are no schools nearer home with places available. This right applies regardless of the home to school distance.
Similarly any child who cannot walk to school because of the nature of the routes available is entitled to free transport regardless of distance provided there are no schools nearer home with places available.
Children entitled to free school meals or living with a parent receiving maximum working tax credit have additional entitlements to transport, specifically:
- they are entitled to transport if the school is more than 2 miles from home throughout their time in school whereas for other children the distance goes up to 3 miles at age 8
- when they go to secondary school they are entitled to free transport to any of the three closest schools with places available provided the school chosen is no more than 6 miles from home. Other children are only entitled to free transport if the school is the nearest one with places available
- when they go to secondary school they are entitled to free transport if the school is chosen based on the parent's religion or belief provided it is the nearest suitable school with places available and is not more than 15 miles from home. Note that an atheist parent could use this to get free transport to the nearest non-faith school
Everyone else is entitled to free transport only if the child is attending the nearest school with places available and it is more than the statutory walking distance from home (2 miles up to age 8, 3 miles for older children).
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