Free post-16 travel moves closer

The council’s plans to reintroduce free post-16 transport for students have moved a step nearer.

The County Council’s Cabinet gave the green light for a public consultation on removing the charges before new arrangements can be introduced ready for the start of the new school year in September.

Since 2014 students have been required to pay for their own travel if they can access their chosen learning provider via local bus and rail services.

For those students who cannot access a viable public transport network, subject to eligibility criteria, arrangements are made for them to travel on school buses/taxis contracted by the Council at a cost of £600 a year per student.

The current administration is committed to abolishing the charge for students meeting the eligibility criteria, with a one-off £50 fee being introduced to help cover costs.

It was not possible for the new administration to bring in any changes to its Post 16 Transport Policy ahead of the deadline for the 2017/18 school year, which came just days after the new council was formed.

Deputy Council Leader Wayne Daley, who is also Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “One of our priorities when we formed this administration was to abolish this charge which we felt was unfair and divisive.

“We’re delighted to have now reached the next stage in amending this policy which will reintroduce free post 16 transport for many students.

“Delivering a good quality sustainable education in Northumberland is vital and part of that is about ensuring students can travel easily and cheaply to where they need to study.

“I’d encourage as many people as possible to take part in this consultation before the deadline on April 2nd.”

To take part in the consultation people can go HERE
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