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School Transport

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if any review of school transport regulations is being considered by her Department; and to what extent education authorities have discretionary powers to meet particular local problems of schools.

The present arrangements for home to school transport are already under review by my Department, with particular reference to authorities' statutory duty. As regards discretionary arrangements, local education authorities already have very wide powers to meet particular local problems—under section 55(2) of the Education Act 1944:

"A local education authority may pay the whole or any part, as the Authority think fit, of the reasonable travelling expenses of any pupil in attendance at any school…".

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what conclusions her Department has reached about the possibility of introducing a flat-rate fare system for home-to-school transport, following the publication of the local authorities management services and computer committee report in February of the current year; and if she will make a statement.

The broad conclusion to be drawn from the LAMSAC report is that, on the basis of the 10 areas examined a charging scheme would appear to be administratively feasible though it could mean a substantial amount of extra work for some LEAs and schools and problems for some parents, particularly where contract transport was involved. Although a charging scheme still holds out the best hope for finding a more equitable arrangement for school transport, no conclusion has yet been reached about its financial feasibility at local and national level.