Wrexham County Borough Council will introduce a new School Transport Policy with effect from September 2012. The implementation of this policy will ensure that the Council meets its statutory duties, as detailed in the Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008 – as passed by the National Assembly for Wales.
The effect of the new policy will be to ensure that free transport will be available for all primary pupils who live more than 2 miles from their nearest suitable school and for all secondary pupils who live more than 3 miles from their nearest suitable school. An extensive consultation regarding these proposals took place between 16 November 2009 and 26 February 2010.
This new policy will only apply to new entrants to schools from and after the date of implementation, i.e. 1st September 2012. For example, when the policy is introduced in September 2012 then all pupils that were in receipt of free school transport at the end of the academic year July 2012 will continue to receive the service, providing they do not move house and that they remain at the same school, until the end of their Year 6 (in the case of primary education) or Year 11 (in the case of secondary education). Where either the address of the pupil and/or school attended changes, a new application for transport will need to be submitted which will be considered in line with the prevailing policy.
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The new policy will not automatically mean that siblings will be treated in the same way as their elder brothers or sisters, each application will be judged through the policy.
The policy will only apply to students who change school following the implementation of the revised policy. Any pupils who were in receipt of school transport before the policy change (July 2012) will continue to be provided with transport until the end of their year 6 (primary) or year 11 (secondary). Should a student move house during this period then a new application for transport should be submitted which will be considered under the policy.
Any parent has the right to choose the school that they wish their child/ren to attend. The School Transport Policy merely identifies the Council’s responsibility in respect of providing transport, which specifies the nearest suitable school. Should the child not be entitled to school transport because it is not the nearest establishment then getting the child to school will be the parents’ responsibility.
The new policy will be introduced on 1st September 2012.
Where a child does not qualify for free school transport their transportation is the responsibility of the parent / carer - this is the case under the existing policy.
The existing provision of school transport has been considered inequitable within a review of the service.
A recent study into existing home to school transport provision has indicated that a number of areas across the County Borough are provided with free school transport to a school other than their nearest. The revised policy will be applied across the whole County.
The revision of the School Transport Policy is not based on any savings in the provision of home to school transport; it is intended to remove inequality in provision across the County Borough.
You can still choose any school for your child’s education, subject to our Admissions Policy criteria a place can be offered at the school of your choice. However, free school transport would only be provided to the nearest suitable school.
In the case of mainstream education this would be the nearest establishment that meets the needs of the student with the capacity to accommodate your child.
On some occasions the nearest suitable school will be oversubscribed. Should this be the case it is sometimes necessary to make an offer of an alternative school place which could involve a journey that would qualify for free school transport.
Parents have a right to choose the school that their child attends. If the school is the nearest to the pupil’s home address and the journey qualifies then Wrexham County Borough Council will pay for transport regardless of which Local Authority the school is located in. This does not apply to non-maintained schools.
The choice of school a child attends is an important decision for parents to make. If there is space available at the chosen school then a place will be offered. However, the Local Authority cannot accept responsibility for transporting pupils to these schools unless the journey qualifies under our criteria. The aim is not to restrict parental choice, however, the Local Authority cannot be financially liable for meeting the cost of parental preferences.
Parents are free to express a preference for a school other than their nearest. However, part of that decision must include consideration of long term affordability. A change of school can be disruptive for a child’s education, so you should be sure that you can meet the transport costs now and in the future.
If you are unsure whether the journey to the chosen setting would qualify for school transport then you should contact our offices for advice. If it is the case that the parents will be expected to arrange transport we will also be able to explain which services are available.
The decision on which education provision to access is parental choice and therefore transportation responsibilities lie with the parent or guardian.
Do you have a question that needs answering? Please email us email@example.com or you can write to us at:
Wrexham County Borough Council
16 Lord Street
If you have any comment to make on the proposed policy, please fill in the form below.
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