School buses: relief for some, not for others

Paper front page for the web.
Paper front page for the web.

CHILDREN who receive free home-to-school transport to their secondary school should continue to do so, following a public consultation which elicited 1,544 responses.

However, children moving up to secondary school in September will only receive the free transport service if they have a place at their nearest catchment grammar or upper school, if recommendations by Bucks County Council’s scrutiny committee are implemented,

Members of the public voiced concerns about the proposed changes to BCC’s home-to-school transport policy at a scrutiny committee meeting last month after BCC announced its intention to make cost-saving cuts to the service.

The committee’s recommendations sought to protect parents whose children already attend out of catchment schools, and ease the introduction of proposed transport charges.

Now a ‘phased approach’ is under consideration,

At a scrutiny meeting on Tuesday, BCC’s cabinet member for education Steven Adams said: “While there is an urgency for us to make savings, having listened to parents and to the commissioning committee, I am now minded to consider the possibility of a phased approach. I have asked the cabinet member for resources to look at making budget adjustments, for consideration by the full council on April 21.”

Granborough mum-of-four Lucy Ives said while she was pleased her two children who attend the Cottesloe School in Wing will continue to get the free bus, she was disappointed for her youngest daughter, Camille, who attends Winslow Combined School,

When Camille reaches Year 7, she will only get the free bus service if she attends The Buckingham School or the Royal Latin.

Ms Ives told the Advertiser: “It gives the illusion of the county still giving choice but effectively if you don’t have transport or can’t afford to pay for it you don’t have choice.”

And she said she felt most sorry for parents of children going into Year 7 in September, who gained their secondary school places believing free transport would be provided, and have since learned it will not.

She added: “The next thing that will happen is the county will be absolutely inundated with appeals – and that will cost them a lot of money.”