Free school transport in Wokingham agreed for 700+ pupils

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Free school transport in Wokingham agreed for 700+ pupils

Pupils and a school bus. Your children may be eligible for home to school transport if they or you meet certain criteria.

Wokingham council has agreed to fund free school transport for hundreds of pupils.

As many as 737 pupils benefited from Home to School Transport and Travel Assistance, according to figures for the 2021/22 financial year.

Of those, 363 were pupils in secondary school, 80 were in primary school and 294 were for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The number is set to fluctuate as pupils enter and leave the education system, and go up from primary school to secondary school.

During a meeting ofWokingham Borough Council’sexecutive committee, the executive agreed to approve its school travel assistance policies ready for September 2022.

The policies are split in two. One covers travel school from aged 5-16, the statutory school age, and the other covers travel for those post-16.

Grahame Howe, the executive member of childrens services at Wokingham Borough Council explained the policies needed to be agreed ready for when school places are allocated to pupils in March for secondary schools and April for primary schools.

Cllr Howe (Conservative, Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe) said: “The objective is to give assent to the policy so it can be communicated with the relevant information given to parents in March or before so that they may consider that information for entry of admissions in September 2022.”

The transport policy was agreed on unanimously at a meeting of Wokingham council’s executive committee on July 29. The committee is made up entirely of Conservatives.

Eligibility for free school transport for pupils depends on how far and how safe the walk is to school, any special needs they require, and what benefits their parents or guardians are in receipt of.

Your child is entitled to free school transport if:

  • They are under the age of 8 and of statutory school age, attends their designated area or nearest school and it is more than 2 miles away by a safe walking route
  • Your child is aged 8 and up to 16, their nearest available school is more than 3 miles away by a safe walking route and they attend a designated area school or the nearest school
  • They qualify for free school meals
  • You (parent or guardian) receive the maximum level of working tax credit
  • The transport itself is provided either by bus, in a mini bus with other pupils or, in exceptional circumstances, a taxi. If none of this is feasible, parents or carers may receive a personal travel budget for four journeys per day at 45p per mile.

    Applications for home to school transport can be made using a form on the Wokingham Borough Council website. There are separate forms for mainstream pupils and SEND pupils.

    Other pupils who have to use a bus to get to school must pay for the service.

    In Wokingham Borough, the main bus company is Reading Buses, which provides journeys directly to Bohunt School in Arborfield and Bulmershe School in Woodley.

    Other schools are served in the borough along the Reading Buses route. These include The Forest School in Winnersh, and St Crispins, The Holt and Emmbrook secondary schools in Wokingham, which are all served by the Lion 4/X4 route.

    Crossfields School, an independent prepatory school in Shinfield is served by Leopard 3/8/9 buses.

    Annual bus travel costs £495, or £185 per school term.Information on prices and routes can be found here.

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