North Yorkshire home to school transport service under review

School safety zone - stock
School safety zone - stock

A consultation is to be considered on home to school transport in North Yorkshire as the County Council looks to make the system fair, consistent and more efficient.

Of the £88m the council spends each year on education for children and young people, £24.1m is currently spent on home to school transport.

The council is responsible for transporting about 20,000 pupils a day.

The authority has a statutory responsibility to provide travel assistance between home and school for eligible children, but North Yorkshire is proposing to consult on the discretionary help it provides above and beyond its statutory requirements.

Executive members for the Children and Young People’s Service will decide this month whether a consultation should go ahead with the public on proposed changes to the service. If agreed, the consultation will look at the current arrangements for pupils predominately in mainstream education aged between four and 16.

Proposals include:

• Providing free transport for all eligible children in the county when they start school in the reception year

• Collection from pick-up points, unless medical, mobility or special educational needs require door-to-door collection

• Only providing free school transport to and from the pupils’ main home address

• To adopt a single rate charge for all discretionary transport

• Introduce a £30 fee for replacement school transport bus passes. Passes are currently replaced for free

• Introduce an application process for home to school transport.

Making free transport available to the pupil’s catchment school or nearest school.

Cllr Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “As an authority, a lot of the home to school transport services we offer are above the statutory minimum.

“But we need to address some of the anomalies in the system over what we can and can’t provide and to make sure what we offer is consistent and fair to everyone.

“We’re looking to protect transport from home to school for those who need it the most and for those who are entitled to it.”

The proposed changes would not affect existing arrangements for pupils, until they change schools, turn eight or require a reassessment due to a change of address.

If consultation goes ahead, any resulting changes will be finalised and published by July 31, ahead of the start of the September 2019 term.