Free transport to school to continue for young children in Westerleigh

First published in News Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury

YOUNG children in Westerleigh will continue to receive free transport to school after their route to primary school was classed as dangerous.

The families of youngsters in the village who attend Pucklechurch Primary School have been told they will carry on benefiting from a free bus to school despite a review of South Gloucestershire Council’s policies.

It had been feared parents would be forced to £120 per term for transport from September 2013 following a decision by the authority to end discretionary rural school transport.

But because Westerleigh has no primary school of its own and its closest school Wellesley, in Yate, is oversubscribed the council agreed to continue paying for children to get to Pucklechurch.

Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh) said: "The routes to any primary school from Westerleigh are classed as hazardous. The decision has therefore been taken on balance to continue to provide free transport to Pucklechurch for the existing children as ‘hazardous route' transport."

The council will pay the fees until children leave school or move house.

For entrants to school in September 2013 onwards, any transport will be on the same basis as applies generally across the authority, taking into account expressed parental preferences, home to school distances, nearest school and the nature of the route.

As a general rule, free school transport will only be provided if parents chose to send their children to their nearest school as their first choice and there is no safe route to school or it is further than three miles away.

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