CHANGES to Blaenau Gwent’s home-to-school transport could be on the way after a group of councillors were appointed to review the current set-up.
The county currently provides more than the statutory minimum, including post-16 transport in the form of a travel grant.
Under the Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008, children living two or more miles from their primary school and three or more miles from their secondary school are entitled to transport.
Blaenau Gwent council provide free transport for children under the age of eight who live more than a mile and a half from their school, and for those aged eight and above living more than two miles from school.
At a meeting of the education scrutiny committee, held last week at the Blaenau Gwent Resource Centre, Tredegar, a task and finish group was appointed to review the county’s current provision and “investigate the opportunities to align the service provision with the statutory requirements”.
The councillors will be brought up to speed on the current home-to-school and post-16 transport provision at a specially organised workshop with the head of technical services.
Their findings will be reported back to the whole education scrutiny panel next month.
The Argus reported last summer how home-to-school transport was taken away from Blaenau Gwent council’s education department and moved to the technical services division of the environment and regeneration portfolio.
Last week’s meeting heard how the cost of transporting children with special educational needs makes up around half of the county’s bill for home-to-school transport. It remains the parents’ responsibility to get children to school, the meeting heard.
Last year parents gathered outside Beaufort Hill Primary to protest against the council’s refusal to grant their children a free bus ride to Ebbw Fawr Learning Community.
The council had said it would not provide a free school bus journey for children who live within two miles of the new multi-million pound facility. Parents argued that children would have to walk to school when the school opened because the use of public transport is too expensive.