Parents and schools are being invited to have their say on proposed changes to home- to-school transport in Harborough.
Leicestershire County Council is proposing a new transport policy due to the growth of academy schools and changes to secondary school age ranges impacting on transport issues and the prospect of increased costs.
The county council currently provides statutory free transport to children living more than two miles away from their catchment primary school or three miles away from their catchment secondary school. This policy has been complicated by the development of academy schools with different, often overlapping, catchment areas.
This means many young people are now eligible to attend a number of different schools, leaving the county council with the problem of increasing transport costs unless it make changes.
County Hall is now seeking views on new proposals, which include only providing free transport to the nearest available academy or maintained school if it is over two miles for children in primary education and over three miles for children in secondary education.
It also includes continuing to provide discretionary travel for those aged 16-plus at a charge of £425 per year, but only to their nearest school or college – not to one that is further away because the course is not available at the nearest school or college.
Peter Osborne, the county council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The growth of academies, which can set their own catchment areas and age ranges, has created a transport problem for the council.
“It means pupils can be eligible to attend a number of different schools, however far away from their home – with the county council picking up the transport costs.
“A new, easy-to-understand home-to-school transport policy would solve these problems and enable us to avoid additional costs in the future.
“We really hope parents and schools and anyone with an interest will take the time to take part in our consultation and share their views on our proposals with us.”
For further information, and to take part in the consultation, visit the website www.leics.gov.uk/school_college_transport
Hard copies of the consultation documents are also available by calling 0116 3050002 or by emailing email@example.com.
The consultation is now open and will run for six weeks until Wednesday, March 12.
It is proposed that any revision in policy agreed by the cabinet will be applied in September 2014 for parents making school choices for children starting or changing schools in September 2015.