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secondary school allocation & transport

(19 Posts)
Frikadellen Mon 03-Mar-14 17:25:24

We live within Sevenoaks council

They have made the decision to only give transport to nearest school.

This year several of Y6 has not been given a space at nearest school despite it being 1st choice. Will they have any argument that they should get transport paid for with schools that is not the nearest? (In case of 1 child a school not even named as any of the 4 choices)

JohnnyBarthes Mon 03-Mar-14 18:00:31

Free transport is generally given to children going to the nearest school which has a place - assuming this is 3 or more miles away or the journey is particularly dangerous that is.

Most areas only offer free transport in these situations. Pupils used to get free transport here (not Sevenoaks) to attend church schools, but this has been withdrawn.

The "which has a place" is the important bit here I think.

Frikadellen Mon 03-Mar-14 18:15:30

The nearest school here is in different county and they wouldn't take it last year.. (may have changed this year) our nearest school in county is 11 miles away and has apparently not taken any children from our village this year. 2 other closer schools in other counties (both about 9 miles away and no transport offered to them last year).

Not my problem this year as mine is Y 5 but watching with interest for next year.

JohnnyBarthes Mon 03-Mar-14 18:22:25

I'm sure in those circumstances there must be some provision - the local authority have an obligation to find a place at a school, and to provide transport if that school is over 3 miles away.

Why hasn't the nearest in county school offered places? Is it because nobody applied? I have no idea, to be fair, what if any difference that makes.

JohnnyBarthes Mon 03-Mar-14 18:24:08

Blimey ignore me sorry - you were perfectly clear in your OP that "several of Y6 has not been given a space at nearest school despite it being 1st choice" blush

I would say they have a very good case, but hopefully an actual expert will be along shortly smile

Frikadellen Mon 03-Mar-14 18:45:08

Ty Johnny it is a interesting situation and a bit worrying for a friend who now has a school allocated she is unhappy with and cant afford to send her child to.

prh47bridge Mon 03-Mar-14 19:41:13

I hope the council have not said this. That would be illegal.

They must, by law, provide free transport if the school is over 3 miles from home by the shortest safe walking route and there is no place available at a nearer school.

Frikadellen Tue 04-Mar-14 08:27:47

PRH47 Is this if the school is nearest with spaces? or in general? IF the latter it is exactly what they said. They will only provide travel to this specific named school. This year it appears no one in our village has got a space in the school.

Frikadellen Tue 04-Mar-14 08:29:30

To early for me smile you said nearest space..

So it is legal for them to say this named school. & if 2nd choice is a school that is further away than next closest school with spaces then travel will not be subsidised?

tiggytape Tue 04-Mar-14 08:36:39

Basically if a family chooses to go to a school more than 3 miles from home then the onus is on them to pay for transport. If there was a closer school that they could have got into, this is seen as a choice that the parents must fund.

If a family are forced to travel more than 3 miles to school because it is the closest school that can offer them a place then the council must pay.

rollonthesummer Tue 04-Mar-14 08:38:37

I see you said they didn't get their first choice school, but was that their catchment school? Did they put their catchment school down (apologies if I missed that). Several kids here put down 5 choices last year and the parents were apoplectic that they hadn't got allocated any of them. Two were grammars (they hadn't passed), two were faith schools (they weren't religious and hadn't completed the SIF needing a letter from your local church) and the fifth was a very oversubscribed and popular out of catchment comp.They hadn't put their catchment school down and were allocated a less desirable comp 7 miles away and complained loudly that they didn't get a bus pass!

rollonthesummer Tue 04-Mar-14 08:41:28

Another friend's daughter didn't get into their catchment school as so many applied that year (in y8 now) and they were given a school about 6 miles away requiring a bus. The mum was on a low income but they were unable to get financial help for uniform or bus pass as the school allocated was an academy. Not a school.

That was ridiculous.

tiggytape Tue 04-Mar-14 08:49:09

The council must pay for travel to academies as well as community and free schools if the 'having no choice but to travel 3+ miles' criteria is met. That isn't a factor.
It is true though that lots of councils try to wriggle out of it because in some areas it costs a fortune and lots of people end up having to push quite hard to get the council to do what should be done automatically.
Some councils say it is only for disabled children or only for community schools or whatever. That is not true.

prh47bridge Tue 04-Mar-14 10:31:48

rollonthesummer - Tiggy is spot on. Any child allocated a school 6 miles away by the shortest safe walking route is entitled to free transport regardless of the type of school. If the LA has refused on the basis that it is an academy they are breaking the law. Your friend should appeal the decision. She should also complain and ask the LA to refund the money she has spent on bus fares.

In the other situation you describe where the parents didn't list their nearest school as one of their preferences the LA is on firmer ground.

LaVolcan Tue 04-Mar-14 11:05:53

Could the experts clarify:

If you put school A - 10 miles away first
School B 1 mile away 2nd

If you get allocated A, does that mean that they won't pay? On the basis that if you had put down B first it would have been allocated to you?

But if you had put B first, and not got in, and been offered A, then they would pay?

It seemed much simpler in the days when there was no 'choice' and you went where you were sent.

prh47bridge Tue 04-Mar-14 12:00:10

LaVolcan - That is correct.

Frikadellen Tue 04-Mar-14 14:34:28

Nearest 2 schools are both 9. something miles away one in Surrey one in Sussex (we live RIGHT on the boarder in Kent)

The school deemed the " catchment" is 11 miles away this is the school my friends have put down some as 1st choice some as 2nd choice (I know this is not relevant in order in the school)

No child in the villages around here has less than 3 miles to school. However as of last year the council has said they will ONLY pay for the catchment school. So my question is this year where there is no spaces at the catchment school and other schools has been allocated. Do the parents who have been given this school who put it down as a choice (knowing it was far away) will they get the travel paid when we know this school is the one that the child who got none of their 4 choices was put into. Telling us this was the school that didn't have full spaces this year aka the closest school with spaces. (I hope that makes sense as I am full of cold and earinfection)

Rollonthesummer the school in question yes is catchment school and the child who didn't get any of her 4 choices actually did not put down anything insane (no grammar schools w no passed 11+ for example) all 4 choices are schools closer than the one she was allocated. 1 the catchment school.

(yes I know it sounds odd for many that your nearest 2ndary is further than 3 miles away smile - just the way of life here)

MirandaWest Tue 04-Mar-14 14:37:08

I've been epnswy

Frikadellen Tue 04-Mar-14 14:53:00

Using LaVolcan example style I may actually make more sense

if order of application is

Child 1
School A - catchment school - 11 miles away
School B - School 13 miles away
School C - 11.9 miles away
School D - 12 miles away

Child 2

School D
School F - 12.5 miles away
School E - 11.5 miles away
School A - catchment school

Child 1 gets school B but School C would have had a space Will they get travel paid?

Child 2 gets allocated school B but none of her schools had a space will she then get travel paid?

Also throwing in an additional question as I am nosey. If school chosen is not in same council but closer than catchment school can council say no to paying for travel there?

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