FREE transport for children who live more than two miles away from their school will continue to be available in Blaenau Gwent county borough for the next academic year.

The non-statutory £150 grant for sixth form students also continues into 2021/22.

The council has until October 1 to publish its home-to-school and post-16 transport policy, which gives relevant information and arrangements on how pupils get to and from their school.

For 2021/22 the council has proposed minor changes, which include updating the relevant term dates and greater clarity on the policy for looked after children.

A report approved by the council's cabinet says it will continue to provide free transport for children attending their nearest suitable school, where the distance to school is more than 1.5 miles for under-8s and two miles for children aged eight and over. Distances are mapped to find the shortest available safe walking route between the pupil’s home address and the school main gates.


The report says: “Parents are able to choose an English-medium, Welsh-medium or a denominational school for their child.

“The child will qualify for home to school transport to the appropriate catchment area of the school.

“When the catchment area school is full and unable to admit a pupil, free transport will be provided to the next nearest available school that has room to take the child, as long as the home is 1.5 miles or more away from the school for pupils under the age of eight years, or two miles for pupils aged eight and over.”

Transport will be provided to coincide with the start and end of a normal school day in term times only and will not cater for breakfast or after-school clubs.

The council provides free home-to-school transport for around 1,330 pupils, via more than 30 routes. Transport is also provided for around 160 pupils via season tickets for buses and trains.

Around 800 post-16 students currently benefit from the £150 travel grant.

The council’s home-to-school budget forecasts a £100,000 underspend this year. The overall budget is some £1.9 million, while the post-16 budget is around £133,290 a year. The home-to-school transport policy is reviewed annually.