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Campaigners urge Transport and Education Secretaries to support school and college transport

13 July 2016

Campaign for Better Transport along with 13 other NGOs and Unions have written to the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP and the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP urging them to take action to protect school and college transport. 

Lianna Etkind, Public Transport Campaigner from Campaign for Better Transport said:

“The recent report, School Transport Mattershas shown that years of devastating cuts to school and college transport by local authorities has really damaged young people’s ability to access to education and jobs easily and affordably.

“Children in rural areas are finding it especially hard as they have fewer and fewer public transport options to get to school or college. Fewer buses also mean parents are having to resort to taking their children by car leading to more congestion and worse air quality.

“In the absence of ringfenced funding, local authorities are cutting back transport more and more. We are calling on the Government to extend the statutory eligibility for free school or college transport to age 18, and to use the Bus Services Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, as an opportunity to commit to publishing a Bus and Coach Investment Strategy, including a strategy for the future of school and college transport."


For further information please contact Richard Watkins on 020 7566 6494 / 07984 773 468 or richard.watkins@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1.     You can read the full letter below

 2.    The letter has been signed by the following : Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport, CEO; Kathy Evans, Children England, CEO; Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group;  Dr Adam Boddison, Chief Executive, NASEN (National Association for Special Educational Needs);  Mary Bousted, ATL, General Secretary; Dave Prentis, Unison, General Secretary; John Widdowson, Association of Colleges, President;  Malia Bouattia, NUS, President;  Dawn Badminton Capps, Bus Users UK, Director;  Ade Sofola, 4in10, Strategic manager;  Liz Emerson, Intergenerational Foundation, Co-Founder;  Graham Biggs, Chief Executive, Rural Services Network; Kevin Courtney, Acting General Secretary, National Union of Teachers

3.  Read the School Transport Matters report here. The report is based on responses from a survey sent to all local authorities in the UK. The responding local authorities represent about 40 per cent of the total school population and 40 per cent of the overall expenditure nationally on school transport. Responses were received from all types of authority - London Boroughs, Scottish authorities, Welsh councils, the Northern Ireland Education Authority, English unitary and metropolitan authorities and two thirds of the English shire authorities, which are the main spenders/providers of home to school transport.

 4.  The provision of free school transport varies slightly within each nation, but generally local authorities are legally obliged to provide free school transport for pupils aged between five and 16-years-old if their nearest school is more than a set distance away. There are also additional provisions for children will special educational needs and for children from low income families in England. There is no statutory provision for post 16 transport.

 6.   Campaign for Better Transport’s Buses in Crisis report found that since 2010 £78 million has been axed from local authority bus funding in England and Wales, resulting in over 2,400 bus services being reduced, altered or withdrawn from service. Campaign for Better Transport has produced an interactive map showing the scale of cuts to supported bus services across England and Wales. View the map here.

 8.   STC is a specialist transport and management consultancy focusing on all aspects of passenger transport - supported local bus, non-emergency health, social care, school and college, special needs, and community transport. STC works mainly with local authorities across the UK, but also transport operators, developing transport strategies, assessing needs, working with young people, undertaking consultation, leading large scale reviews and supporting and implementing change.

 9.    Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels.