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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:00 pm
Posts: 80
We received our School Transport renewal paperwork through the post today.

For my daughter, the previous ticket cost was £390 for the academic year 2013-14. The new charge for 2014-15 is £570.

As expected, the recent consultation didn't do much. The price rise of over 45% is huge for us. With my younger daughter starting secondary school in 2015-16, it's unlikely I would be able to afford around £1500 for two tickets (£1500 based on £570 plus circa 30% rise next year). Surely this is going to result in more cars on the roads for school runs!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:58 pm 
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I know, it's ridiculous. I have three at GS and it would be much cheaper to drive them to school if I could, even though I only pay the "admin fee" for one as he was entitled to free transport before they changed the rules.

Part of the reason it makes my blood boil is that the service is do awful. This term we have had:
Forgetting to collect the DCs (drove straight past)
One driver didn't know where the school was
Another didn't know where my DC's stop was so made them walk the last half mile (I know it's not far, that's not the point).

Grrrrrr.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 9:39 pm
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Less than half the cost we have to pay! £7 a day = £1330pa. Private coach from Burnham to Beaconsfield as Burnham falls outside the area for school transport to BHS!

But at least there is a bus! And on the whole it seems to run on time and without incident! :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:21 am 
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The difference, obviously, is that there is a grammar school your dd could attend probably by walking, where as single dad is presumably paying simply for his daughter to attend her nearest grammar school.

I have one son who will receive free transport for the foreseeable future to his nearest grammar, as by lucky coincidence this is also his nearest secondary school, and one who will have to use a paid for service, which is our choice. However if either had attended their catchment upper, they would have had to pay for transport, as it is not their nearest upper school as the crow flies, an over subscribed, out of catchment school has this honour!

Personally I think they should scrap all free transport, except for those on fsm or disability allowance, spread the cost of private buses across the board of all who use them and also make the public buses run past the schools more, there by providing alternative viable options of transport. Were either of my boys to use the public (also bcc subsidised) service, they would have to swap buses or climb a ruddy great long hill before school, I suppose it would get the blood flowing. :lol:

I know people from the villages would start bleating about unfairness of not having free transport to any school, but I am from a village and I can see how the system is currently massively flawed and causing financial grief to many people who simply wish to send their child to their allocated catchment school.


Last edited by southbucks3 on Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:41 am 
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SB3 - all very well if you have a local bus service more thsan twice a day .. you can't divert what doesn't exist.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:59 am
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Guest55 wrote:
SB3 - all very well if you have a local bus service more thsan twice a day .. you can't divert what doesn't exist.


Well that is where the ALL paying system helps out...village kids would have a subsidised bus journey to any closest school, rather than one having it free and another paying because they are grammar pupils and the grammar is further away.

While I am on my imaginary re-shuffle, I would also join forces with all the granny shuttles that are around now run by charitable organisations, but often grant assisted. These mini buses could he put to good use with voluntary drivers at school run times, just as well as they pick up and drop pensioners to go to Tuesday market etc.

We all need to be a bit more resourceful, but unfortunately the whole thing is tied in red tape, so doubtless singledad is correct and there will be a huge surge in child drop off traffic.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:01 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:42 pm
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grrrrrr I wrote a long, (probably moaning :oops: :oops: ) reply and then my computer crashed on me - clearly my moaning was too much for it to bear :lol:

I agree that the whole system is totally unfair and I think I'm probably one of the village bleaters :oops: :lol:

My two children get free transport to primary (bus) as they go to their catchment (and closest) primary in a neighbouring village.

We have 3 catchment secondary schools (well I guess 4 technically but 3 per child) - our US, a mixed GS and the 2 single sex GS (the single sex are several miles further away). My ds will be going to the mixed GS and my dd will also go either to there or to the catchment US - so they will go to our closest catchment schools. A very unpopular and undersubscribed US is however approx. 300 metres closer to my house then my catchment GS so, no free transport. This does grate on me somewhat as all I'm doing is sending my children to their closest catchment school (and in the case of my ds his closest grammar school). It also seems madness that if I did decide to send my children to the non catchment upper which is closer to me they would lay on a free taxi to ferry my children there. Anyway I guess it is what it is.

I would love there to be a public bus service through our village (it stopped over 11 years ago) and would not be averse to a bit of walking in order for them to use it but sadly we have none - the closest bus is 3 miles away down an unlit, twisty, narrow road with no pavement - oh and a flood (quite a big one) that has been there for getting on for a year which Bucks seem to have no intention of doing anything about. The knock on effect of the flood is that the road surface has eroded massively in places causing massively deep pot holes and cars swerving quite dangerously (imho) to avoid them. I would also have no issue with them combining the busses to the grammar and upper which are in the same town which follow each other along the road in the morning.

However despite all my rantyness (is that a word?) I do understand that they need to save some money and school transport is hugely expensive. I do question the massive fleet of free taxi's which they run shipping non SEN primary and secondary school children to school. I was rather relieved that the costs "only" went to the £570 as from the consultation meeting I attended I know Mike Appleyard was pushing heavily for the £700+ option so I guess that is where we will be next year.

The current system is confused - within one village you can have children on free transport, children paying just the management fee and children paying the £570 (and also those on the post 16 higher price) and all living within sight of each others houses - so maybe yes introducing one flat fee across the board would be better.

I don't know what the answer is really (sorry I'm really rambling now) but it's an extra chunk of money which we'll have to find which will mean we have to cut back on other things. We have no mains drainage and our costs associated with that are huge due to our house having an old cess pit which really needs replacing, we have no mains gas - our house runs on LPG and the cost of that has increased beyond all comprehension over the last 10 years. However we do live in an amazingly beautiful, safe place where my children can live a pretty idyllic life running free in the woods, swimming in the stream etc so I guess this is the price we have to pay.

Golly I said I was one of the bleaters - sorry!!! :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:48 am 
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I will write this in little letters as I don't want to be inflammatory; but you are quite lucky to get any kind of free transport at all or even subsidised transport. Here in Gloucestershire there is no free school transport - nearest school or not - and I have just written a cheque for £1620 for my two sons to get a bus to school next academic year. They have a mile cycle/walk before that too. I wonder if Bucks is quite unusual in offering any kind of help - or if Gloucestershire is unusual in not doing so?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:06 am 
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We hear you, Amber. I think one of the issues is the change - we used to get free transport to our nearest school if it was more than 3 miles away - if your children qualified for GS it was to the nearest GS. They then changed it to your nearest school, so if you qualified for GS but there was an Upper nearer, you didn't get free transport (I think that's the bit that really hurts - it will put some people off trying for GS). If we lived half a mile up the road the GS would be our nearest. The year my eldest 2 went to GS we paid £0, two years later DD went into the 6th form, DS arrived at the school and all of a sudden we were paying over £1000 (DD's was almost double DS's because at 17 her bottom was clearly twice as big). Currently for DS1 we pay £80 "admin charge", but next year his will go up to £667 if he chooses to stay on at school. People don't like change, particularly if the changes are seen as unfair. Unfortunately for years Bucks were more generous than they were obliged to be, because of their two tier system. Incidentally, I though local authorities had to pay for transport to the nearest school if it was more than 3 miles away, but that may be an urban myth.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:08 am 
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We are incredibly lucky as Warwickshire are still fairly generous - we live in what is called the priority circle for the southern Warks grammar schools and, having got a place in one, we are entitled to free transport (it happens to be our closest, but if it was the further away one we would still get it). They class the grammar school - if you qualify for one - as your "nearest school" in these circumstances. Our nearest comprehensive is closer at 4 miles and I believe that there is a 3 mile limit - under this it isn't given unless the roads are seriously dangerous for a child to walk along. However, they are certainly looking at transport and I think it will change for future years.

The particular problem is that the school leaving age has enforceably changed from 16 to 18 and yet "free" transport still only runs up to 16. So the government says you have to stay in school but have not reinstated the free travel that used to exist for 6th formers. I certainly think that areas that do not offer free travel should cap the amount charged as it is certainly a tax on attending school.


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