Council issues clarification over learner travel arrangements

Bridgend County Borough Council has issued clarification over its learner transport arrangements following comments on social media over perceived changes to the service.

The council has confirmed that its current policy, which has been in place since 2016, has not been changed, and that the authority is waiting on the outcome of a national Welsh Government review of statutory distances.

In the 2021-22 financial year, the authority will spend £6.7m providing learner transport in support of almost 5,000 eligible primary, secondary and special school pupils.

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “Several years ago, we considered making a number of proposed changes that were deemed necessary based on the circumstances of that time, and carried out associated public consultation.

“However, that was before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, and also before Welsh Government announced that it intended to review learner transport and the existing mileage threshold of two miles for primary age pupils, and three miles for secondary age pupils.

“We agreed last year to defer any further proposed changes until the Welsh Government review had been completed.

“I believe the current confusion may have arisen because of the ‘no pass, no travel’ scheme, which was temporarily suspended during the pandemic before being reinstated earlier this month to coincide with the start of the new school term.

“This scheme means that pupils can only travel on home-to-school transport if they meet the statutory eligibility criteria as determined by Welsh Government, and present a valid bus pass.

“The fact is that the council continues to provide learner transport at a level which matches the statutory requirements, and that we are still waiting for the outcome of the Welsh Government review on this issue.

“Once Welsh Government have completed their review of learner travel, we will be looking at the scheme again in closer detail to determine if any further changes are necessary.”

To find out more about learner travel, visit the school transport page at www.bridgend.gov.uk

 

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