by simongalton on 13 October, 2016
Up until now, families in Thurnby, Bushby, Scraptoft, Houghton, Stoughton, Keyham and Hungarton have all been offered free transport to Gartree from ages 10-14, and Beauchamp from ages 14-16. From next September, this will all change. Children will now stay in primary school until the end of Year 6. After that, their parents will be able to apply to the secondary school of their choice. Manor, Beauchamp and Gartree will all offer places for Year 7 students.
In 2014 the County Council restricted entitlement to free transport to the nearest school or the nearest Leicestershire school. The changes were strongly opposed by parents supported by me as their local councillor. However the Council’s decision making Cabinet voted to go-ahead. Under the new policy, to qualify for free school transport from the County Council, the families will need to place the nearest school as their first preference, second nearest their second preference. This is likely to mean that Manor will need to be their first preference, Beauchamp their second, Gartree their third. If a family selects Beauchamp or Gartree as their first preference, they will not qualify for free school transport from the County Council.
In the past, Beauchamp and Gartree have expressed an interest in setting up a transport scheme for families from the Thurnby area. I recently contacted the headteachers from both schools to find out whether they had any further details.
Sonia Singleton, Head of Gartree High School, informed me that they would work with parents to ensure bus provision is in place for those who choose Gartree for Year 7 entry in 2018. However, given the level of school budgets this is unlikely to be highly subsidised, and they are unable to establish costs without student numbers.
Kath Kelly, Principal of Beauchamp College, informed me that they will commission buses to run from the villages. They will subsidise the service for all children and it will be almost fully funded for PP children (we will ask for a deposit but refund on enrolment). They hope to have full details of the scheme available by March.
I will continue to update you with details of their transport plans as they become available. In the meantime, I think it is safe to expect that families with children attending Year 7 in September 2018 will be offered free transport to Manor by the Council, and will have the options for transport to Beauchamp or Gartree.
The County Council has a transition policy and will continue to offer existing students their current school transport offer. They will continue to be offered free school transport to Beauchamp until they finish their Year 11.
The County Council’s transition policy will continue to offer them free school transport to Gartree. If, for whatever reason, they leave Gartree then this offer will change to free transport to the nearest school with an available place. This means that if they wished to move their child to Manor school, the County Council is likely to offer free school transport as it is the nearest 11+ school to the Thurnby area.
If they wish to move their child to Beauchamp, they will not be offered free school transport by the County Council. Beauchamp is likely to offer some kind of transport service for interested families, but it is likely that parents will need to pay for it themselves.
Your child will now stay at their primary school until they finish Year 6. After that, their parents will be able to apply to the secondary school of their choice. Manor, Beauchamp and Gartree will all offer places for Year 7 students.
To qualify for free school transport from the County Council, the families will need to place the nearest school as their first preference, second nearest their second preference. This is likely to mean that Manor will need to be their first preference, Beauchamp their second, Gartree their third.
Parents who wish to place Beauchamp or Gartree as their first preference will not be entitled to free school transport. Both Gartree and Beauchamp have spoken about organising school transport for families interested in sending Year 7 children to their school, but do not yet have concrete details. It is likely that parents will need to fund this.
It is hoped that they will have fully worked out transport schemes, with prices, by the time that current year 5 children are required to apply for a secondary school, this time next year,
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