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Pupils' Travel

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what average distance a pupil travels to school in (a) rural and (b) non-rural areas; what steps the Government have taken to lower the cost of travel to school for students in rural areas; and if he will make a statement. (85943)

The Department does not routinely collect information on the average distance pupils travel to school, and an answer to this question could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, data derived from pupil level annual school census returns in 2005 showed the following pattern in secondary schools by region1.

1 Source PLASC 2005. Includes pupils aged five to 15 attending maintained secondary schools (excluding middle deemed), CTCs and academies. Distances are measured on a straight line basis.

Region

Distance (Miles)

North East

1.53

North West

1.60

Yorkshire and Humberside

1.69

East Midlands

1.99

West Midlands

1.64

East of England

2.14

London

1.55

South East

2.13

South West

2.17

England

1.83

The Education and Inspections Bill includes provisions that extend entitlement to free home to school transport for low-income families, and will enable a small number of local authorities to propose pathfinder schemes to test innovative arrangements supporting choice, and increasing the proportion of pupils travelling by sustainable means.