Montgomeryshire Senedd Member Russell George MS has said a review to Powys County Council’s school transport policy is well overdue.
Powys County Council has a duty to provide pupils with free transport to their nearest suitable school if they live over a certain distance from the school. Over several years parents have been raising individual cases and concerns about the inflexibility of the current policy for free home to school transport, with Mr George.
The current policy means that due to marginal distances involved in crossovers of catchment areas, some children are being denied free transport to go to the same school as their older siblings, leaving parents with a choice of sending their children to separate schools or finding alternative transport for one of their children. Mr George has been calling for the Council to review its policy and earlier this year wrote directly to the Council’s new Cabinet members calling for flexibility and a fair choice, especially when marginal distances are involved or siblings face having to go to different schools.
At a Powys County Council Meeting of the full council on 13th October, Conservative County Councillor Lucy Roberts, who represents the Llandrinio Ward brought forward a motion to Powys County Council calling for the Council’s Policy to deliver more clarity and to support greater parental choice of school. County Councillors voted unanimously in favour of passing the motion.
Commenting on Cllr Roberts’ motion, Mr George said:
“Over several years, I have seen an increased number of people raising concerns with me about Powys County Council’s provision of free home to school transport. I have been calling for this policy to be made much more flexible and to prioritise parental choice, however, ultimately this was a decision for Powys County Council and its Councillors.
“I am delighted that Cllr Lucy Roberts reiterated my concerns calling for this policy to be made more flexible and that this motion was then unanimously supported by Councillors. I would also like to commend those parents who have been campaigning and petitioning for changes to this policy.
“My belief is that Powys’ home to school transport policy should allow all pupils and families to be treated fairly and the process should allow for individuals’ unique circumstances to be taken into full consideration before decisions are made. I hope that the Council expedites this long overdue review and makes much needed changes quickly so that parents whose children are currently being impacted, can see unfair decisions reversed.”
County Councillor Lucy Roberts added :
“I am really pleased that the motion I raised in full Council was unanimously approved as most importantly I want to see a policy that supports greater parental choice. I hope this should be of great benefit to pupils in my ward who wish to retain the option to attend either Welshpool High School or Ysgol Llanfyllin.”