Windsor and Maidenhead council consults on changes to school transport fees

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk
Key bus routes to be axed

The Royal Borough is considering removing or changing transport concessions from September 2021.

It has launched a consultation, starting yesterday (Monday, March 15).

It will be consulting on the following concessions:

•             Holyport Village residents concession.

•             Eton Wick residents concession.

•             Post 16 Students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) concession.

•             Low income families who are fare payers concession.

•             Exceptional circumstances concession.

•             Primary concession.

•             Nursery concession.


Holyport Village

Under current rates, Holyport Village residents are automatically entitled to free bus passes on public transport services to Cox Green School.

The council wants to withdraw the concession.

Another option is to remove the Holyport Village concession for all new pupils from September 2021 but retain the concession for existing pupils until they reach the age of 16.


SEND pupils

Currently, students over the age of 16 with SEND (special education needs) are able to purchase a season ticket on a school route for £651 per academic year. The average cost of their transport is more than £6,700 a year.

One possibility is to change the contribution made by 16+ students with SEND – possibly introducing a contribution that increases in line with the distanced travelled:

0-5 miles £ 651 (equivalent to the cost of a season ticket on a school bus)
5-10 miles, £851
10-15 miles, £1051
15+ miles, £1251

The council’s preferred option is for all 16+ students with SEND will make a contribution towards the cost of their home to school or college transport by paying a flat rate charge of £651.


Low income families

At the moment, low income families make no contribution towards the cost of a season ticket on a school coach.

One option is for the concession to be removed altogether and low income families pay the full cost of a season ticket on a school coach.

Another is for low-income families to pay a contribution of £325 (50 per cent of the normal cost).

The council’s preferred option is that the policy will remain unchanged and low-income families will continue to make no contribution towards the cost of a season ticket on a school coach.


Primary and nursery schools

Currently, children awarded transport to a primary school are not normally reassessed when they reach the age of eight – when the distance criteria for awarding transport assistance changes from two to three miles.

On option is to remove the concession and reassess pupils for transport assistance when they reach the age of eight.

Another is to retain the concession and only reassess a pupil when they move school or if they change address.

Policy currently allows for transport to school be provided to nursery pupils from the age of four. Residents can vote to remove the concession and only assess pupils for transport assistance when they reach the age of five.

The council is proposing to change the concession so that nursery pupils from the age of four will be required to make a contribution towards the cost by paying a flat rate charge of £651.


Under all suggestions for SEND students, nursery school students and primary school students, pupils from low income families will receive a 50 per cent discount.

Residents can also say if they believe any of the concessions should not be changed.

To give a response to the consultation, complete the Home to School Transport Consultation survey at https://tinyurl.com/pkcpmzmc 

The consultation is open until April 12.

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