School bus consultation
A public consultation is expected to begin this week on changing the eligibility rules for free school transport.
The exercise – set to be decided by councillors yesterday – will seek views on increasing qualifying distances to two miles for primary pupils and three for secondary schoolchildren.
A public consultation on controversial plans to reduce pupils’ eligibility for free school transport is expected to get underway on Monday.
Councillors on North Lanarkshire’s education committee were being asked to approve the start of the exercise – seeking views on proposals to increase the qualifying distances for transport provision – as the Advertiser went to press yesterday.
Pupils living more than one mile from their catchment primary and two miles from their secondary school currently receive free transport; but the proposal under consideration is to change to the statutory requirement of two miles from primaries and three from high schools.
A report for councillors projects that 1916 primary and 2670 secondary pupils would be affected, with 723 and 2838 respectively remaining eligible; and that savings could total nearly £2.4m.
The paper adds: “It should be noted that this proposal does not affect the transport arrangements for pupils with additional support needs.”
North Lanarkshire currently provides free transport for more than 8000 pupils costing £5.5 million.
It is one of seven Scottish councils currently operating the“more generous ”transport criteria. Reducing eligibility has been rejected in previous years. Consultation is due to run until January 9 with public meetings at St Andrew’s High in Coatbridge on Tuesday, November 21, and at St Margaret’s High in Airdrie on Thursday, November 30, both from 7pm to 9pm.