Buckinghamshire Council has today launched a consultation on proposed changes to its Home to School Transport policies.
Most of the changes reflect updated guidelines issued by the government earlier this year. The changes aim to make the school transport policies clearer and to provide more detailed information on some topics, including transport for children with SEND.
Some pupils between the ages of five and 16 are eligible for free home to school travel assistance because the walking route to their nearest suitable school is within the statutory walking distance limits, but the walking route is unsafe. Routes are assessed against the nationally recognised Assessment of Walked Routes to School guidance published by Road Safety GB.
The council encourages safe, sustainable ways of getting to school and we aim to reduce car and bus journeys by working within our budget to make walking routes to school safe. Improvements to walking routes will be considered where they can be made at a reasonable cost and where they will benefit the wider community as well as those travelling to school.
Where a walking route previously assessed as unsafe is made safe, the transport eligibility for pupils who could be using the walking route will be reviewed and transport assistance only provided to those who continue to be eligible to receive it.
Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Steven Broadbent, commented:
“Home to school travel for eligible children is a statutory service that we must deliver, and the council’s school transport policies provide the framework for the services we provide. The proposed changes to our school transport policies are intended to make these policies easier to understand, as well as, to provide more detailed information on some topics including transport for children with SEND.
“The council encourages safe, sustainable ways of getting to school. By working within our budget to review and improve walking routes, we aim to increase the number of families walking or wheeling to school. Walking and talking on the way to school is a great way to connect with others. Reducing short car and bus journeys is better for the environment and air quality around our schools, and improved walking routes benefit all in the community.
“Our school transport budgets are under significant pressure, but by working within our budgets to improve walking routes where we can, we hope to balance our climate change ambitions with providing home to school transport to those who are eligible to receive it.
“We’d like to know what you think about these proposals – please take part in our consultation at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/school-transport-consultation”