Home to School transport: will this affect you and your child?

October 3, 2013 4:22 PM
Home to school transport survey 2013

Home to school transport survey 2013

Conservative controlled Essex County Council are running a six week formal consultation into the discretionary elements of their home to school transport policy. The consultation ends on 28th October.

The Tories at County Hall say they are looking at where efficiency savings can be made however, the simple truth is they are looking to make cuts and it is hard working Essex families living primarily in the rural areas of Essex who are going to be picking up the bill if they don't send their child to the nearest school to their home address.

A number of the discretionary elements of the existing policy are now under review. These include consulting on:

  • Changing the reference to catchment area within the assessment of entitlement to home to school transport policy and removing the use of joint catchment areas and instead only providing transport to the nearest school to the home address where statutory walking distances are met.
  • Removing existing transport from routes which are now deemed safe walking routes.
  • Withdrawing the provision of transport to families on low income whose children attend a selective grammar school.
  • Introducing a means tested assessment for transport provided to pupils in exceptional circumstances.
  • Introducing a new application window for Home to School ransport applications.
  • Reviewing existing post 16 transport provision

Under the County policy we have been told that the schools in Brentwood which will be considered to be the nearest to each of the villages are as follows:

  • Doddinghurst - Outings Lane CM15 OLZ would be Shenfield High School
  • Wyatts Green Road CM15 OPT would be Shenfield High School
  • Kelvedon Hatch - Great Fox Meadow CM15 OAU would be Becket Keys
  • Stondon Massey - Soames Mead CM15 OEP would be Shenfield High School
  • Blackmore - Woolard Way CM4 OQL would be Anglo European
  • Hook End - Hook End Road CM15 OHG would be Shenfield High School

Lib Dem County Councillor David Kendall said

"I have major concerns about this consultation because it could mean parents living in the rural areas having to pay out hundreds of pounds each year to send their child to the school of their choice when up to now it has been free. The Tories always tell us they are the party of choice when it comes to education but if these proposals go ahead it will blow that claim out of the water. Many Brentwood families in the rural areas are going to be affected by these proposals so I would strongly urge them to take part in the consultation and make their views known".

The consultation, plus all the accompanying literature and documentation is available on www.essex.gov.uk/schooltransport with a link to the consultation document at www.essexinsight.org.uk/consultations. To submit further comments complete the questionare or e-mail schooltransportconsultation@essex.gov.uk

Cllr David Kendall is opposing these plans and he can be contacted here.