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Post-16 school transport - how does it work in your area?

(52 Posts)
Mutakirorikatum Fri 29-Nov-19 14:59:30

So I know young Londoners aged 16-18 get a pass entitling them to free bus transport and subsidised tube and train fares in the whole Greater London area. Which is obviously lovely.

However. In our rural county I have just learnt that there is no free or subsidised transport at all for post-16 education. Instead we have to buy an annual season bus ticket which gives access to all the county's bus services (most of which will never be used, since it's primarily for getting to and from college/sixth form a few miles away). For a grand total of...

Eight. Hundred. and. Ten. English. Pounds.

£810 actual pounds.

Blimey. Most 6th form provision is concentrated in regional centres, so almost everyone will have to travel, and only the lucky few who live actually in the town where the college or school is will be able to walk or cycle. There are 'bursaries' available for low-income families, but they have to be applied for through the individual school or college, and there appear to be limited funds available.

I had blithely assumed that because post-16 education is now compulsory, there would be some form of transport provision, not necessarily to any school or college, but at least to your nearest one. But nope.

Is this unusual? I'd be interested to know what the provision is in other parts of the country.

wonderstuff Fri 29-Nov-19 15:04:29

I'm interested too, where I live all post 16 provision is college based, no school 6th forms, so lots of people travel. My village is far enough from the local secondary that we get free transport, like you I think post 16 it's an expensive country wide bus pass. Its not right that 16-18 year olds don't get free transport.

TeenPlusTwenties Fri 29-Nov-19 15:05:15

Hants. That's about what it cost us for DD1.

Saucery Fri 29-Nov-19 15:05:18

Only Yrs 7-11 statutory. 6th form can have a pass if there is room but if not they have to make their own way there, however far away or inadequate the public transport. This is despite being willing to pay &£700 for the pass.

wonderstuff Fri 29-Nov-19 15:09:57

I'm in Hampshire too. There either needs to be free transport or a grant for 16-18 year olds. We're lucky we'll comfortably afford it, but lots of families must really struggle.

stucknoue Fri 29-Nov-19 15:17:45

Here you pay, end of. There's a student bus pass option that's £450 a year, can be used only on one bus company though so you could be unlucky and need the higher priced any bus pass at £700 (no student option). No annual passes or multi bus company tickets for kids either so many buy adult passes. We are in a city!

Dodgeitornot Fri 29-Nov-19 15:47:29

That's schooling. We're in London and we really are spoilt. I know there is a lots of issues with post 16 Sen children losing their transport but I assumed this is because it needs to be a supported bus and they can access free travel on a normal bus. How on earth do people with multiple children afford this.

Dodgeitornot Fri 29-Nov-19 15:47:47

Sorry I meant that's Shocking*

crazycrofter Fri 29-Nov-19 15:48:50

Here (Birmingham) 16-18 year olds can get child rate travel passes which are West Midlands-wide so good value for those whose friends are far-flung!

Prices range from around £300 for bus only to I think about £430 for bus,train and tram.

TeenPlusTwenties Fri 29-Nov-19 15:53:31

I've just checked.

For the college we are looking at for DD2, there is a college bus which is currently £650. Obviously that only covers to and from college. About a 40min journey.

OP Is the price you are looking at one with a student discount negotiated by the college?

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 29-Nov-19 17:05:04

@wonderstuff and@TeenPlusTwenties if you are a low income household in Hants you can apply for a bursary for the sixth form bus tickets and it can be paid for over 10 months.
Just doing sixth form applications for hants and it is in the Symonds and QMC info and I know from someone else it is in the Sparsholt info too.

TeenPlusTwenties Fri 29-Nov-19 17:23:28

Lone True. We (rightly) wouldn't qualify for bursary even in a blue moon.

I do suspect that there are a lot of families for whom £600-£900 travel will come as an unexpected shock that will be hard to find, even if they are above bursary thresholds.

catshavestaff Fri 29-Nov-19 17:26:24

But in some parts of Hampshire there is no public transport to actually get to post 16 education. We are 8 miles from the nearest sixth form college for A levels and there is no bus back to our village after 13:30 and the morning bus is at 9:30. This is a proper village with a primary school not a hamlet. If there’s no one who can take them into the college by car or to the next village 3 miles away where there is just about a service in then no sixth form.

TeenPlusTwenties Fri 29-Nov-19 17:36:42

cat I think if we were in that situation I'd contact the chosen college early asking can they request a re-route for next year.

For DD to get to Sparsholt it is 40mins by college bus. If we had to rely on public transport it would be more like 1hr15.

Failing that, ideally the DC would cycle to next village (though safety could be an issue on some of our roads). Definitely learn to drive at earliest opportunity.

Looolabell Fri 29-Nov-19 17:42:12

In London post 16 it's not free it's just 50% of the adult fare. Which is better than what you have.

Dodgeitornot Fri 29-Nov-19 17:47:55

No, 50% is for trains and tubes. Buses and DLR are free until 30th September of the year following your last year of free education. That is the school year they turn 20 if they stayed in post 16 education for all 3 eligible years. If they took the normal route and stayed for 2 years then the free buses and 50% off tube and train runs out the 30th September after their final exams.

Mutakirorikatum Fri 29-Nov-19 17:51:13

In London post 16 it's not free it's just 50% of the adult fare. Which is better than what you have.
It's free if you live in London, according to the Zip card website.

OP Is the price you are looking at one with a student discount negotiated by the college?

No, I think it's the standard rate across the county for a bus pass for 16+. It does say in the blurb to check whether the County Ticket (as it's called) is the cheapest option, but my 16yo's journey to and from college would cost £12 a day on a pay as you go basis, so I suspect it probably would work out just about cheaper than paying the full adult price.

I'm just shocked by the absence of affordable provision - we can afford it, but it's still a hefty chunk of money, and it must surely put people off accessing the most suitable course for them. It seems that we're not unusual across the country, but £800+ does seem to be the highest so far. hmm

calamityjam Fri 29-Nov-19 17:53:29

I live in Greater Manchester (just on the border) we get free transport for 16-18 year olds thanks to Andy Burnham our mayor which is extremely helpful although I live .3 of a mile too close to our high school to get a free bus pass for my 12 year old. Too far to walk but not far enough for a free pass.

newdeer Fri 29-Nov-19 17:59:06

Same here OP. Full price train fares for DC. Over £1000 pa per DC here. hmm

PostNotInHaste Fri 29-Nov-19 18:02:40

Not funded post 16. Someone said that it’s 1.5k pa to our local agricultural college. DS’s school which is just under 3 miles away would cost £720 pa.

Sadik Fri 29-Nov-19 18:17:42

Free 'school bus' here to the local FE college. We're in Wales, I think free post-16 transport is discretionary and I wouldn't be surprised if councils consider cutting it.

If they do I suspect a lot of 16-18y/os here would drop out of college. (Though there is still EMA of £30/week for lower income students which at least would help.)

titchy Fri 29-Nov-19 18:19:01

Surrey offers a student card for £25 a year which gets you a third off bus or rail travel to and from school/college without the 'travel after 9.30' restriction of standard rail cards. So £100 we paid. Better than £150 I suppose ....

wonderstuff Fri 29-Nov-19 18:20:11

catshavestaff that's terrible.

Looolabell Fri 29-Nov-19 18:21:13

I looked on the tfl site but didn't read it all! That's what I get for rushing.

Dodgeitornot Fri 29-Nov-19 18:51:35

I'm honestly so shocked to read these. How can you make post 16 education compulsory but not provide the transport. It makes no sense. Some of these sums are enough to fund online post 16 education. Its an absolute joke.

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