Consultation on home to school bus services to Bolton Schools
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is reviewing its provision of bus services for pupils who live in the Borough and attend schools in Bolton. In recent years the Council’s policy on home to school transport has seen many changes, and we need to make sure that the designated school bus services which the Council arranges and funds enable us to fulfil our home to school transport duties in line with our current policy effectively and efficiently.
All education authorities have a duty to provide free home to school transport to pupils in their area who meet the statutory eligibility requirements. Authorities may also exercise their discretion and provide additional transport services if they choose so to do.
The Council currently has four designated school bus services that carry pupils living in the south of the borough to Bolton schools. Between these four services, there are a mixture of passengers: some are pupils for whom the education authority has a statutory duty to provide home to school transport, but fare-paying pupils are also able to take advantage of unused capacity to travel on these services. The Council incurs a significant financial cost in order to provide these services.
The council is considering whether current arrangements actually provide services in excess of those required to fulfil the Council’s statutory duties and how these services might be amended or re-arranged in order to provide the most effective service whilst still fulfilling our duties. Potential options to address this problem could see one (little used) bus withdrawn, a reduction in one of the routes or consolidating services to ensure that the council’s statutory home to school transport duty will still be met for those qualifying pupils.
It is anticipated that within the options outlined above some spare capacity would remain until summer 2028 to cater for pupils who are not eligible for free home to school transport but who are current pupils (or have already been offered places) at schools in Bolton for Sept 2023, thus ensuring that the council arrangements on which they are relying will be available until those children complete their compulsory education.
Residents of the Borough can respond to this consultation by going to the consultation questionnaire on the Council’s website at Home to School Transport Consultation | Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
The consultation opened on 6th March 2023 and will close on 19th May 2023
6th March 2023