School Transport Policy 2020-2021
It is the Local Education Authority’s intention to provide a system of transportation that will seek to carry pupils safely and comfortably. These principles will apply to all services contracted by the LA.
Provision of Free Transport (5 - 16)
There is a statutory duty placed upon the LA to provide pupils with free transport to their nearest suitable school if they reside beyond “walking distance” to that school. Caerphilly County Borough Council, however, provides transport to those pupils who attend their “relevant” school and reside beyond “walking distance” to that school.
The “relevant” school is the catchment area school or the nearest school. The Learner Travel (Wales) Measure defines “walking distance” as two miles for pupils in receipt of Primary Education and three miles for pupils receiving Secondary Education.
Caerphilly County Borough Council, however, defines these distances as one and a half miles for pupils in Primary Education and two miles for other pupils - the distance being measured by the nearest available walking route. The residence is the address of the parent(s) or legal guardian of the pupil.
Where a pupil has more than one home because the child’s parents are not living together but the child lives partly with each parent, or with a parent and also at a children’s home, then both places of residence should be regarded as their place of ordinary residence.
“Living” means more than occasionally visiting. Only permanent established arrangements can be considered. These would include a child who stays 2 nights of every school week with one parent and three nights of every school week with the other, or alternative weeks with each parent. The provision is concerned only with periods during which the child receives education i.e. the school week. It does not apply where a child spends weekends with a parent from where the child lives during the school week.
Where a child has two places of ordinary residence in two different local authorities, then each of those local authorities will be responsible for the child’s travel arrangements when in its area. Where pupils attend, as a result of parental preference, a school, which is neither the catchment area school nor the nearest school, it must be understood that parents accept full responsibility for transport arrangements. This will include making all the necessary arrangements as well as meeting the cost.
In all cases, the efficient use of resources will dictate the mode of transport provided (subject to any special needs requirements). Transport may be provided by means of a contracted school transport service or existing public transport services which, together with the size and type of transport (bus, minibus, train, taxi, etc.) will be dictated by cost effectiveness.
It is not possible to arrange the routes of vehicles to pass close to the homes of all pupils. Therefore, it may be necessary for parents to make arrangements for their child(ren) to reach the nearest ‘pick-up’ point of the vehicle. Every effort is made to keep this distance as short as possible and it should not exceed 1 mile.
Transport to Nursery Schools / Units
Children who attend nursery schools or units would not normally be eligible to receive free transport.
Transport for Children with Additional Needs
Free transport is provided for all pupils who attend Special Resource Bases and our Special School - Trinity Fields School and Resource Centre, which are not held within their own schools irrespective of distance and family circumstances. Special provision include classes for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties, physical disabilities and additional learning difficulties, complex learning needs, hearing impairment, speech and language difficulties, social communication and autism, behavioural difficulties and pupil referral units.
Transport to Voluntary Aided and Special Agreement Schools
Pupils attending the nearest Voluntary Aided School of the parent’s denomination receive free transport if it is in accordance with the LEA’s agreed walking distance.
Transport to schools in neighbouring Authorities
Pupils residing within Caerphilly County Borough area who attend schools located in neighbouring authorities receive free transport provided that the school attended is the relevant or nearest school, and that they reside beyond the agreed walking distance.
Special Transport on Medical Grounds
Free special transport to and from school may be provided on medical grounds on receipt of a written recommendation from a Medical Officer and is subject to regular review. Consideration for free transport on medical grounds is generally only given consideration where a child is attending his or her ‘relevant’ school or where the child has been placed at a school because of his or her medical needs.
Special arrangements: Hazardous Routes
The LA exercises its discretion to vary its service in terms of perceived needs. It is recognised that occasions will arise where routes are considered to be hazardous. In these circumstances, the LA reserves the right to provide free school transport below the discretionary limits to pupils attending their catchment school, in the interests of the safety of the children. As a matter of policy, routes that are considered hazardous will be reviewed biennially.
From time to time it is possible that the numbers to be carried by the LA will be below the seating capacity of the vehicle being used. In such cases the LA will reserve the right, using the appropriate powers, to make spare seats available to children attending their relevant school who live below the discretionary limit, provided that there is no additional cost to the authority. It must be understood that the provision of this facility does not represent an obligation on behalf of the LA and, being entirely dependent on the capacity of the vehicle used, may result in withdrawal of the facility at short notice.
Concessionary transport cannot be considered until after the second week of September, when accurate numbers of pupil’s travelling during the year are known. Requests must be made in writing to these offices giving details of the pupil and school attended by no later than Monday 21st September 2020. All requests received by that date will be considered and any available seats will be allocated on the basis of those resident furthest from the school. Requests thereafter, will be considered, depending on availability.
Changing Schools - Transport Arrangements
Pupils whose families move to an address outside the traditional local area of the school attended will not continue to be provided with a free bus or train pass to that school if that move takes place during primary education, or in years seven, eight or nine of secondary education. Pupils who move on a permanent basis in years ten and eleven will be provided with a free bus or train pass to enable them to complete their current course at the same school provided they were attending their closest school and that they now reside beyond the agreed walking distance.
Monitoring and Complaints Procedure
All vehicles will be available for random checks by the Traffic Commissioners or other appropriate body, when required. Any complaints received by the LA from parents concerning services or vehicles will be immediately investigated. In the event of the complaint being upheld, action will be taken in accordance with the operator’s terms of contract. The LA will, on unspecified days, undertake random checks on contracts, to ensure that the contracts are being complied with, in a manner acceptable to the LA. These checks should take place at least once per school year. As a part of the monitoring exercise, performance indicators will be built into the contracts.
Provision of Transport Post - 16. CCBC Policy Post-16 Schools
CCBC defines eligible distance as 2 miles for school pupils aged 16-18 - the distance being measured by the nearest available walking route from the nearest (to the school) gate or entrance to the property, to the nearest gate or entrance to the school.
The “relevant” school is the catchment area school or the nearest suitable school, and the residence is the address of the parent(s) or legal guardian of the pupil. Please refer to Section 1 for further clarification on what is regarded as a child’s residence.
Where pupils attend, as a result of parental preference, a school, which is neither the catchment area school nor the nearest school, it must be understood that parents accept full responsibility for transport arrangements. This will include making all the necessary arrangements as well as meeting the cost. In all cases, the efficient use of resources will dictate the mode of transport provided (subject to any special needs requirements). Transport may be provided by means of a contracted school transport service or existing public transport services which, together with the size and type of transport (bus, minibus, train, taxi, etc.) will be dictated by cost effectiveness.
It is not possible to arrange the routes of vehicles to pass close to the homes of all pupils. Therefore, it may be necessary for parents to make arrangement for their children to reach the nearest ‘pick-up’ point of the vehicle. Every effort is made to keep this distance as short as possible and it should not exceed 1 mile.
CCBC Policy Post-16 Students
All students aged 16, 17 or 18 years at the commencement of each academic year and who are attending a course of full time study at a college, will be entitled to free travel provided that the student is attending the catchment establishment / college or nearest place to their residence which provides the course or broadly comparable course, this will be determined by officers. A full time course is determined as one, which requires attendance of 16 or more hours per week.
All students who reside within the catchment area of the schools listed below are within the catchment area for Gwent Tertiary College for post 16 Education. Students are however only eligible for free transport if they are attending the nearest campus offering the course.
- Blackwood Comprehensive School
- Islwyn High School
- Newbridge School
- Risca Community Comprehensive School
- Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni - (Islwyn Area)
Should students who reside within these catchment areas choose to attend an alternative education establishment, assistance will only be provided if the student is attending the nearest education establishment to home offering the course.
The mileage limits will be the same as those applying to school pupils. The arrangements as specified for schools above, apply equally to college students.
Ystrad Mynach College
All students who reside within the catchment area of the schools listed below are also within the catchment area for Ystrad Mynach College for post 16 Education.
- Rhymney Comprehensive School
- Heolddu Comprehensive School
- Lewis School Pengam
- Lewis Girls Comprehensive School
- Bedwas High School
- St Martins Comprehensive School
- St Cenydd Community School
- •Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni (Rhymney Valley Area)
Should students who reside within these catchment areas choose to attend an alternative education establishment other than Ystrad Mynach College or their catchment comprehensive school, assistance will only be provided if the student is attending the nearest education establishment to their residence offering the course.
The mileage limits will be the same as those applying to school pupils. The arrangements as specified for schools above, apply equally to college students. Where a course of study is not available locally (i.e. at the relevant ‘school or college, as appropriate’) a travel grant of £363 is available.
This travel grant is payable in six Instalments of £60.50. The travel grant is paid at the end of each half term/term after confirmation has been received of the continuing attendance.
Work Based Learning
The Authority does not provide assistance to those students on work based learning courses. Students should contact the provider who may be able to offer assistance.
Students who meet the criteria for the provision of free transport to their chosen education establishment can apply for petrol allowance.
Petrol Allowance is paid at a rate of fifteen pence per mile. Should a student wish to apply for petrol allowance then they should put a supporting letter with their application detailing why they are unable to travel on the prescribed transport. Petrol allowance is only normally payable in circumstances where either the contracted vehicle or public transport is not suitable. Authorised petrol allowance claims are payable at the end of each half term/term.
Guidelines for Parents/Carers
- Make sure older children leave home in sufficient time and ensure that young children are taken to the bus stop in good time. It is your responsibility to ensure they are looked after until the bus arrives.
- Where season tickets or bus passes are issued, please ensure your children carry them - drivers will make checks.
- It is your responsibility to ensure that young children are met when the bus returns from school. Remember that young children often get excited and forget road safety as they get off the bus and, therefore, ensure you
- meet them on the same side of the road as the bus stops.
- Make sure your child knows what to do if the bus is late, or does not arrive.
- Help bus drivers and escorts to do their job. Remind young people that playing about at bus stops and on buses can cause accidents and injuries.
- Advise the driver or escort if there may be a particular difficulty with your child on a specific day.
- If your child is unaccompanied between home and the bus stop, make sure that he or she knows and follows the safest route and uses the safest crossing places and is appropriately dressed. Remember the safest route is not always the shortest one.
- Notify immediately, the Integrated Transport Unit of any changes to your circumstances, such as a change of address. If your ticket is no longer required, you must return it immediately to the Integrated Transport Unit.
- Season tickets and bus passes are valuable. Replacements will be charged for. Lost tickets should be reported immediately to the appropriate bus company who will advise you how to obtain a replacement.
- Remember to remind your child/ren only to operate the bus doors in an emergency.
- Ensure children are aware that some types of clothing can be dangerous e.g. having belts or bags with loose straps could be come caught in the door. Also rucksacks should be carried and not worn.
Travel Behaviour Code
In January 2009 the Welsh Assembly Government issued a Travel Behaviour Code. The code is compulsory for all learners up to the age of 19 years (or over 19 years if they started their course before reaching 19).
The code applies to all modes of travel to and from education institutions. This will include contract buses, public buses, public trains, walking, taxis, scooters and motorbikes, cycling and journeys in the learners own or other cars. Learners must comply with the code whilst travelling to and from their place of learning.
The code sets out standards of behaviour expected of a learner when travelling to and from their place of learning. Parents should ensure the learner has understood the code and must encourage good behaviour. Parents must ensure their children comply with the code.
In the event that a learner does not comply with the Travel Behaviour Code the Local Authority can for a period withdraw an individual’s entitlement to free transport.
Alternatively the place of learning can take action against them under the Schools behaviour policy. In the event transport is withdrawn from a learner, it is the responsibility of the learners parents to arrange transport to and from their place of learning.
School Bus Travel Behaviour Code
- When at the bus stop, always wait sensibly, off the road.
- Make an agreement with your parents what to do if the bus does not arrive or if you miss it.
- When the bus arrives, wait for it to stop. Never push or rush for the door.
- Show your bus pass (if you have been given one) when you get on the bus.
- On a school bus stay in your seat for the whole journey.
- On a public bus find a seat if one is available.
- Never block the aisle with your bag or other belongings.
- Always wear a seat belt if one is provided.
- You must not distract the driver when he or she is driving.
- Never eat or drink on the bus.
- Never throw anything in or from the bus.
- Never damage or vandalise any part of the bus.
- Never operate the bus doors or exits, except in an emergency.
- Always follow the instructions of the driver or passenger assistant at all times.
- If there is an accident, stay on the bus until you are told to leave. If it is unsafe to stay on the bus then leave by the safest exit.
- Never try and get on or off the bus until it has stopped.
- Always get off the bus sensibly, taking all your belongings with you.
- Never cross the road in front of or close behind the bus.
Any appeals against a refusal to grant free transport should be made, in writing, to the Integrated Transport Unit, giving full details for consideration. Consideration will also be given to individual written applications for discretionary transport outside the normal policy criteria. These will be considered on their respective merits and in exceptional circumstances, transport may be provided outside the normal policy criteria. If you have any concerns about school transport, you should contact the Integrated Transport Unit.