Post 16 education transport assistance
- Period: 16 April 2014 - 12 May 2014
- Status: Closed
- Audiences: Parents/carers, Students
- Topics: Transport
- Type: Public
Consultation on Arrangements for September 2014 for entitled Shropshire students
Shropshire Council provides help with transport assistance to college and sixth form for entitled students under the terms of the Council’s policy.
I wish to inform you that there are no proposed changes to the entitlement rules of Shropshire Council’s Post 16 transport policy for the 2014/2015 academic year.
However, the transport industry has and still is susceptible to rising costs and over a number of years the Council has tried to limit the impact of this on student travel. This has now resulted in a need to address the disparity between the cost of a bus pass to the Council and the income it receives in contributions from students/parents, to continue to provide assistance in this area.
The proposed contribution levels for September 2014, are as follows;
- For students not on defined benefits (e.g. families on Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Free School meals or Child Tax Credit where the current income is less than £16,190) the proposed student contribution to receive transport assistance from September 2014 will be the equivalent to £2.43 per journey or £292 per academic term.
- For those students who are currently on defined benefits (detailed above), the proposed charge is £47.50 per academic term or 40p per journey.
After reviewing the responses from parents, students and colleges to the recent consultation, Shropshire Council has decided not to implement the proposal in the consultation on post-16 transport. Instead, to lessen the impact, a phased subsidy reduction will be introduced from September 2014.
The phased reduction of the subsidy for the service will see the ticket price increased to an equivalent of £658 for the next academic year for students not on defined benefits, rather than £875 as outlined in the original proposal.
Karen Bradshaw, Shropshire Council’s director of children’s services, said:
“I would like to thank everyone who gave us their thoughts on our proposals. The views that we received are extremely important to us, which is why we have changed our plans. By making these changes over three years we hope to lessen the impact on students and parents alike.”
The scheme offers termly transport assistance to college and sixth form for a flat rate contribution, regardless of distance, to entitled Shropshire students.
Post-16 transport is a non-statutory area that is currently subsidised by the council at a cost of £550,000 per year, and whilst the council recognises that this is an important area to continue to support, at the same time it needs to reduce the overall subsidy of the scheme, which is in line with many other councils’ approaches.
Instead the contribution for students on defined benefits will be £22.50 per term and for all other students £219 per term for the academic year 2014/15. It is proposed this will increase each year until the academic year 2016/17, meaning that in 2015/16 the contribution for students on defined benefits will be £35 per term and for all other students £255 per term, and in 2016/17 contributions will be £47.50 and £292 respectively.
Karen Bradshaw said:
“We understand that this could put pressure on family budgets. However, given the budget challenges we face and the rising costs of travel, the current approach to post-16 transport is no longer sustainable, and alternative options to reduce costs need to be considered. We have phased the reduction in subsidy to give people the opportunity to budget for future years, and so that the increase isn’t too sharp too soon. We will work with colleges and transport providers to further minimise the impact on parents and students.
“Where students have a more appropriate or more economical means of getting to and from college, we would always advise them that it is in their interests to make their own arrangements outside the terms of the scheme.”
If you would like to comment on the proposed arrangements for the 2014/2015 academic year, please use the contact details on this page to email or write to us.
Following this consultation, a decision will then be made and the Council’s updated arrangements will be published no later than 31 May 2014.