grrrrrr I wrote a long, (probably moaning
) reply and then my computer crashed on me - clearly my moaning was too much for it to bear
I agree that the whole system is totally unfair and I think I'm probably one of the village bleaters
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!!!