Hun­dreds of pupils to miss out on free bus passes

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

with Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion guid­ance which grants free trans­port to pupils only if they are more than three miles from the near­est school ge­o­graph­i­cally, rather than catch­ment school.

Fam­i­lies who are no longer el­i­gi­ble for free trans­port “will need to bud­get for the cost of home to school travel,” says a coun­cil re­port which states: “The law pro­vides pro­tec­tion for fam­i­lies where pupils are en­ti­tled to free school meals, of if their par­ents are in re­ceipt of max­i­mum Work­ing Tax Cred­its.”

The coun­cil is also con­sid­er­ing mov­ing from a sys­tem of pro­vid­ing bus passes up front to a sys­tem of re­im­burs­ing the costs of travel to par­ents ret­ro­spec­tively to avoid travel be­ing paid for in ad­vance and then not used.

Town coun­cil­lors dis­cussed the changes with sev­eral con­cerned par­ents at a meet­ing of Meltham Town Coun­cil on Mon­day night.

Clr Richard Noon said he un­der­stood that ev­ery sin­gle child af­fected would have to be as­sessed by the coun­cil which would be a costly bu­reau­cratic headache.

“This has been poorly thought out,” he said.

“The ram­i­fi­ca­tions for par­ents and for school plan­ning don’t seem to add up. We need to see more de­tail.”

Meltham Pri­mary School posted de­tails of the changes on its Face­book page, say­ing: “This (£370 per pupil) will be a large fi­nan­cial bur­den, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing that some fam­i­lies re­ceive free trans­port due to the dis­tance from their cho­sen school.”

A Kirklees Coun­cil spokesper­son said: “The pro­posal to change the coun­cil’s main­stream home to school trans­port pol­icy was agreed at the Cab­i­net meet­ing on Jan­uary 23, 2018.”

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