This article is more than 1 year old

Consultation to close soon on proposed revisions to the home to school transport policy in North Northamptonshire for 2024-2025 onwards

School travel assistance

05 June 2023

Latest news logo

The consultation on new policy proposals for the future of home-to-school transport provided in North Northamptonshire is due to end at midnight on Monday, June 12.

People still have a chance to have their say on the changes which will affect the transport for both pupils of statutory school age and for those aged over 16, continuing with their education.

Changes would not affect children with special educational needs or disabilities who are currently eligible for free school transport. 

Pupils in mainstream education who attend their nearest suitable school and meet the current criteria for free school transport are also not expected to be affected by the proposals. Policy revisions are focused on the discretionary elements of the service.

The results of the consultation will be used to help shape the new policy which would be introduced from September 2024 for the 2024 to 2025 academic year, to allow parents and carers time to plan ahead.

Following previous feedback, the council is also proposing that, going forward, it makes the wording of the policy clearer to understand.

Although the policy is refreshed annually, widescale changes have not been introduced for about a decade. With rising costs, the council needs to re-examine its approach and the amount it can afford to subsidise.

The review will look at several areas:

Linked schools

Schools are said to be ‘linked’ if there is a priority given to applicants to a school from a certain school or location. The current policy states that linked schools will be treated in the same way as the nearest suitable school, even if there is an alternative suitable school with spaces available closer to the child’s home.

There is no statutory obligation to provide transport to linked schools and the council is reviewing how transport is provided to these. Any changes would only affect new applications for September 2024 and beyond. 

Provision of ‘spare’ seats

Any seats left vacant, once children entitled to travel for free have taken up seats on a bus, are available to other pupils for a fee. The council is reviewing the amount it subsidises the provision of these ‘spare seats’ to these non-entitled pupils.

Children with medical needs

Reviewing the policy on the provision of medically qualified passenger assistants and in line with emerging guidance from the Department for Education.

Inaccurate applications

Allowing the council to reclaim any costs related to applications that used inaccurate information.

Travel options

Expanding the travel options available to pupils.

Collection of children

Reviewing guidance on who can collect a child from a vehicle.

Appeals and complaints

Clarifying guidance to ensure it is transparent and easy to follow.

The consultation runs until midnight on Monday, June 12. A paper on the proposals is then scheduled to appear before the council’s Executive on July 13.

People can take part in the consultation by:

  • Completing the online survey
  • Writing to:
    North Northamptonshire Council,
    Sheerness House,
    Meadow Road,
    NN16 8TL

Any policy changes would be introduced from September 2024 for the start of the 2024 to 2025 academic year.