03:00PM, Friday 27 September 2019
Parents have hit out at Bucks County Council (BCC) over its handling of school bus places ahead of the academic year.
Four parents have formed The Bucks School Transport Issues Group (TBSTIG) over concerns about the current and future situation of the school bus transport arrangements.
Concerned parents complained that they had ‘very late notification saying that places on the council school buses were not available for their children’, leaving some with no means of getting to and from school.
They argued that this had led to safeguarding issues, dangerous alternative routes and children not being able to get to school themselves due to a combination of lack of council provided schemes and public transport.
In a letter to BCC leader Cllr Martin Tett on September 17, TBSTIG outlined these concerns.
Cllr Tett replied in a letter of his own a day later, saying the council ‘fell far short of the standard parents have a right to reasonably expect’.
A question on the issue is due to be put to BCC’s transport cabinet member, Cllr Mark Shaw, ata county council meeting today (Thursday) in Aylesbury.
Cllr Shaw and BCC cabinet member for education, Cllr Anita Cranmer, also responded to the parent group in a joint letter on Friday, saying they were ‘extremely concerned to hear of the poor levels of service you and other parents have experienced with arranging transport this year’.
The letter added: “We have asked that a detailed and urgent review is undertaken to ensure that both the immediate situation is dealt with as a matter of urgency and that lessons are learned for the future provision of home to school transport.
“We recognise that some of our communication with students and parents was extremely close to the beginning of the academic year.
“Because of the allocation processes we need to follow, we are unable to be in a position to offer a seat until all students entitled to free transport have been allocated to routes.
“We do make it very clear at the first stage of the admissions process that we cannot guarantee that all students will secure a paid for transport place.
“We do recognise that the timing of the information to parents was very close to the start of term and apologise for the inconvenience and worry this caused.”
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