Help for education authorities to develop alternatives to the
school run was unveiled last week by the schools minister Stephen
Mr Twigg announced £200,000 grants for up to 20 schemes
that can find greener, safer and healthier ways for children to
travel to school than by car.
However, schools will be able to charge parents on higher
incomes for the service.
Mr Twigg said a new School Transport Bill would enable local
authorities to develop their own transport schemes, e.g.:
- ‘Walking buses’, where children walk to school with
adult volunteers, collecting more children along the route.
- More and bigger school buses fitted with CCTV, plus extra buses
for out-of-school activities.
- More cycle routes to schools and secure bike sheds.
- Staggered school starting times in some areas to cut traffic on
“Twice as many children are driven to school now in
comparison with 20 years ago, and most of these journeys are less
than two miles,” said Mr Twigg.
New research by the DfES has found that more parents on lower
incomes have to pay for their children to travel to school than the
better off. Two thirds of children who get the bus pay more than
£7 a week.
“The present system in unfair because it is based on the
distance pupils live from school and not parents’ ability to
pay,” said Mr Twigg.
Schools would be allowed to charge parents for the new schemes,
but children who receive free school meals would not have to pay
for transport, he added.
Press release at: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2004_0160