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Pupils: Bus Services

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his policy is on arrangements for free bus transport to and from schools for pupils aged (a) under nine, (b) nine to 11 and (c) over 11 years (i) in the Isle of Wight, (ii) in Hampshire and (iii) in England. (201986)

Home to School transport is not arranged around the three age groups quoted in the question. local authorities (LAs) have to make transport arrangements where they consider it ‘necessary', to secure a child's attendance at school. Where they consider transport ‘necessary', it must be free of charge. LAs have wide discretion in deciding whether transport is necessary, but they must provide free home to school transport for pupils of compulsory school age who are attending their nearest suitable school, provided that the school is beyond the statutory walking distances (two miles for pupils below the age of eight years and three miles for those aged eight years and over).

The Education and Inspections Act 2006 extended entitlement to free school travel for pupils entitled to free school meals or whose parents are in receipt of maximum working tax credit. Since September 2007, primary school pupils aged over eight have been entitled to free travel to their nearest school where this is more than two miles from their home. At secondary age (11 to 16), pupils attending one of their three nearest schools that is between two and six miles from the child's home, and those attending their nearest school preferred on grounds of religion or belief, between two and 15 miles, will be entitled to free transport from September 2008.