[lg policy] Updated schools transport policy approved with more work to come

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Sep 21 10:38:23 EDT 2018

 Updated schools transport policy approved with more work to come

Thursday, 20 September 2018 - Local People
<http://www.brecon-radnor.co.uk/archive.cfm?sectionIs=news&cat=Local People>
[image: Elgan Hearn]

by *Elgan Hearn* - Local democracy reporter
Cllr Myfanwy Alexander

MORE work will be done in the spring to update a home-to-school/college
transport policy.

Powys County Council’s cabinet approved the updated policy which followed a
consultation this summer.

The consultation had received 318 responses and 15 emails, which education
cabinet member Cllr Myfanwy Alexander said she was pleased with.

Responses were as follows.

Charging for post-16 pupils for bus travel generated the most opposition
with 86 per cent of people opposing the proposal.

The qualifying distances of two miles for primary school pupils and three
for secondary school was backed by 71 per cent.

In terms of the Welsh language choice, 67 per cent backed proposals for
funding in relation to language choice.

On faith schools the respondents were split, 50.53 per cent to 49.47 per
cent not to provide free transport if it’s not the nearest school.

Cllr Alexander explained: “The policy has not been updated for many, many

“Because individual issues can be contentious and are appealed against, it
was important for us in a corporate sense to have a reliable policy that we
can base before we take any actions.”

Cllr Alexander continued: “It was pleasing to see a large number of people
respond to the online survey.

“It’s interesting to note that the most controversial part of it does not
form part of the paper, which is charging for post 16 transport.

“The largest change relates to the previous blanket policy of transporting
of individuals with additional learning needs even if it were not in their
best interest.

“If it’s better for them to take a journey on the bus rather than
individual tailored taxi service we would be able to provide that.”

Cllr Bryn Davies, who chaired a meeting of the learning, skills and economy
scrutiny committee that looked at the policy, said: “Amongst our comments
from scrutiny there was a lack of information to base understanding and
decisions on.

“We welcome that more work will take place in the spring on this and look
forward to scrutinising that work.

“One of the inconsistencies that has risen is that part of the
recommendations opposes the county plan for the Welsh language, by funding
transport out of catchment areas to essentially avoid being taught in Welsh.

“This same principle does not pop up in connection with faith schools.

“We don’t want to stifle choice, but it does not make sense for the county
to fund transport that opposes the policy.”

He believed this showed a lack of joined up thinking.

Cllr Alexander replied: “The reason why we transport pupils out of Welsh
medium school catchment areas to English ones is because it is our legal

“For us to get around this, new legislation would need to be passed in

“We have been punished in the past for a lack of fairness.

“If we transport pupils towards Welsh language education, there are legal
judgements which tell us we have to transport towards English medium

“I agree with the principle that we want to have more educated through the
medium of Welsh.

“But at the moment the legal framework tells us we have no choice.

“If a child or family tells us they want transport from a Welsh medium area
school to an English or dual stream area we have to help their ambition.”

Corporate governance cabinet member Cllr James Evans said he was glad that
more work would be done for post 16 education transport.

“I’m not yet convinced that charging for post-16 education in Powys is a
sustainable model for rural areas.

“It could undermine the viability of our sixth forms going forward.”


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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