Ahead of the new term, Worcestershire County Council would like to confirm the current situation regarding school transport.
Over the summer, guidance has been published on the changes to Local Authority exemptions Passenger Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) on Home to School Transport.
These changes will have no effect on pupils entitled to Home to School Transport under the County Councils Home to School Transport policy, this includes those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
This year has seen a higher than normal increase in applications for Home to School transport from parents entitled to transport and from parents wishing to purchase any vacant seats that are available.
As a result of these factors, The County Council will have less capacity to offer Vacant Seats under its discretionary scheme and will be looking to confirm available seats later than usual in mid -late September.
However over 90% of all new and existing students have already had their school transport arrangements allocated.
A small number, less than 1% of all pupils who have been previously taken advantage of the Vacant Seats scheme, have been unable to do so again this academic year.
Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “The new school term is an incredibly busy time for all involved, and we will always look to help as many children get safely to school as we possibly can. This year’s changes in legislation and the increased take up of Home to School Transport mean that we aren’t able to offer as many vacant seats as we have previously. Our teams are working hard to ensure we are able to confirm seats that are available as early into the term as we can. I appreciate the logistical issues that this will cause for parents and families and we will do all we can to assist where possible.”
Worcestershire Transport Department advise parents to ensure alternative travel arrangements are available in time for the start of the new academic term if they have not had a place on transport confirmed.
When completing their application, parents are informed that alternative arrangements should always be considered in case a temporary vacant seat is withdrawn.
During the application process, it is made clear, temporary vacant seats can be withdrawn at any time without notice.