More Tory cuts to frontline services - WC attacks schoolchildren
Wiltshire Council hopes to make £178,000 next year by making children pay more for their journey to school. It will do so in three ways - by increasing charges for over-16s, by bringing in charges for transport to the grammar schools in the Salisbury area, and by withdrawing the free transport provision for pupils who have to change schools when they move to a different catchment area.
WC estimates the proposed increase in the post-16 transport charge will result in a saving to the council of around £100,000 a year from September 2015.The introduction of charges for grammar school transport will save £63,000 in the year commencing September 2015, rising to around £307,000 a year after five years when the charges have been fully phased in. The withdrawal of continuity transport will save around £15,000 a year.
The charge for post-16 transport will be increased from its current level of £446 to a new rate of £625 a year from September 2015. There will be subsidised rates for low-income families.
The council will continue to provide transport for students attending the two Salisbury grammar schools, but the cost of doing so will be recovered by making a charge of £676 per annum per student. There will be no subsidies for low income families. Charges will be phased in starting in September 2015 and will apply only to new pupils. However, when existing pupils move into the sixth form at the grammar schools they will pay the grammar school charge of £676 and not the normal post-16 transport charge.
The reason for providing the transitional help for students who move house was to avoid disrupting their education. This affects a relatively small number of children - 50 or so per year. This budget will be cut entirely, so children will have to either move schools, or pay their own travel costs.
A 'consultation' on the new regime is underway - you can respond on the WC insultation page