Page added on November 28, 2012
Proposals for changes to some of the home to school transport services offered by Leicester City Council are being examined in a public consultation.
People are being asked for their views on proposals to cut some of the discretionary transport that the council provides for pupils and students travelling to and from schools and colleges.
The proposals outline how much could be saved by limited free discretionary travel, or cutting it altogether if further financial constraints make it necessary.
Proposals include cutting free transport to pupils attending voluntary-aided schools, which would affect about 232 pupils at faith schools, and save about £23,000 in 2013/14 and £46,000 per year in subsequent years.
Limiting free over-16s travel to low-income families would save about £65,000 in 2013/14 and £130,000 per year in following years. Another option of ending free travel to all over-16s would save an additional £30,000 in 2013/14 and £60,000 in subsequent years.
Pupils over 16 with special educational needs would only get free transport if their parents were on low incomes. This proposal would save the city council about £167,000 per year, although removing this free transport altogether would save an additional £88,000 in 2013/14 and £175,000 in the following years.
Some groups will not be affected at all by the proposals, because the law states they must be provided with home to school transport. They include under-16s with special needs, and those who live very far from the nearest available schools or who have no safe walking route to school, who will all continue to get free travel.
The city council is proposing the changes due to cuts to the funding it has available to provide discretionary transport services.
It currently spends £4.5 million every year on home to school/college transport, but as part of its budget it is expected save £255,000 for 2013/14 and £343,000 in the following years. It could also be asked to save even more money if further financial constraints are imposed.
The consultation into the proposed cuts runs from Monday, November 19, to January 14, 2013. If approved the changes will take effect from September 2013.
Leicester Assistant City Mayor responsible for children, young people and schools, Cllr Vi Dempster, said: “Council budgets are being hit hard by government settlements and we’ve had to look closely at where we can make savings.
“While we remain committed to the provision of excellent statutory services, we have in the past used our discretion to fund other groups.
“It is this funding – approximately 11 per cent of the total – that we are looking at to make the necessary savings. So from a total budget of £4.5million, we are looking at the £500,000 that funds discretionary services.
“This consultation gives pupils, parents and carers the chance to make their views known, and I would strongly urge people to participate so that their views can be taken into account.”
Those who will continue to get free home to school transport include pupils up to the age of eight who live more than two miles from their school and those aged eight to 16 whose school is more than three miles from home.
Pupils who are eligible for free school meals or whose parents receive the maximum level of Working Families Tax credit will also still get free transport if they live far from school.
Pupils under 16 with special educational needs, disability or mobility issues, and pupils who have no suitable walking route to school will also continue to be provided with transport.
For more information or to take part in the consultation online, visit: www.leicester.gov.uk/schooltransport
People can respond by completing the online questionnaire or by printing a copy of the questionnaire and returning it to:
Home to School/College Transport Consultation
Leicester City Council
New Walk Centre