Free transport for Hertfordshire students faces axe

FREE travel for students in Hertfordshire could be scrapped in a bid to save cash.

Hertfordshire County Council is reconsidering its approach to providing free and subsidised travel to schools and colleges, as it looks to reduce a �25m annual school transport budget in the face of Government spending cuts.

A public consultation on the issue is being lined up for later in the year, with the council in favour of cutting back on the services it provides over and above the legal entitlement.

Councillor Richard Thake, executive member for education, said: “For many years, Hertfordshire County Council has gone above and beyond its legal duty in providing free or subsidised school transport.

“Naturally, families have welcomed this additional support and, in some cases, have come to expect it, but we need to re-prioritise in the light of the current acute financial situation.

“As well as helping to balance our books, we want to stimulate a debate about how schools and parents can use their local knowledge to create travel and transport solutions that meet their needs.

“When parents and carers are considering which schools to apply for it is crucial that they consider all aspects of how their child will travel to school.”

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Services that could be for the chop include transport for children with special educational needs, who are being intergrated into mainstream schools or post 16 education, year 10 and 11 children sitting exams and who live more than three miles from their schools and some children attending faith schools.

Some groups of children have a legal right to free transport, and will remain unaffected.