Monday, 21 July 2014

Taslima Miah Ministerial and Public Communications Division www.gov.uk/dfe

My reply from House of Commons i did try!!!!
Thank you for your email of 1 July, addressed to the Prime Minister, expressing your concerns about the cost of transport to education and training for 16 to 19 years olds, in Northumberland. I hope you are able to appreciate the Prime Minister receives a large amount of correspondence and is unable to reply to each one personally. Your letter has been passed to this department as we have responsibility for this policy area and on this occasion I have been asked to reply.
Whilst I acknowledge your concerns, I should explain that the statutory responsibility for transport to education and training for this area rests with local authorities (LAs), enabling them to make decisions which best match local needs and circumstances.
The wide range of options available to post-16 students means that they often travel to a diverse range of locations and at different times of day - sometimes across a wide area and across LA boundaries. So we do not believe it would be right to require authorities to meet every student’s individual transport needs.
The law covering the provision of transport for young people aged 16 to 19 requires LAs to publish a statement each year, setting out the support they consider necessary for young people to access education or training. These arrangements do not have to include free or subsidised transport, but LAs are expected to make reasonable decisions based on the needs of their population, the local transport infrastructure and the resources they have available.
The actual transport provided by LAs varies but most young people (including in rural areas) do have access to some kind of discount or concession on local bus or train travel - either from their LA or from the local transport providers. The government supports local bus travel, including in rural areas, through the Bus Service Operators Grant.
I note that Northumberland County Council (NCC) has changed the arrangements for 2014/15, although the £600 charge for the provision of transport for those students without access to public transport still represents a significant subsidy on the actual cost for the majority of students. I also note that the Council intends to continue providing free transport for students from low income backgrounds, and for those with learning difficulties and disabilities. The Council’s post-16 transport statement can be found at:http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=457.
I do, however, recognise that the majority of students entering post-16 education and training for the first time, in September 2014, will have to pay significantly more than they would have done previously. However, it is for the Council to decide on the exact level of support in its area and arrangements may change from one year to the next, based on local circumstances and the Council’s priorities.
If you think that the Council is not fulfilling its post-16 transport duty you should take it up directly with officials at NCC and you can do that by contacting Barry Rowlands, Director for Local Services, via the following e-mail: barry.rowland@northumberland.gov.uk.
The Government does recognise that the cost of transport can be an issue for some young people and this is one of the reasons why it has introduced the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. The £180million fund is allocated to schools and colleges, and is distributed to financially disadvantaged young people who need additional support to help them with costs such as transport. Further information about the Bursary Fund can be found at:www.gov.uk/1619-bursary-fund.
I hope you find this information useful.
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2014/0046934. If you need to respond to us, please visit:www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.
As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at: www.education.gov.uk/pcusurvey.
Yours sincerely
Taslima Miah
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
www.gov.uk/dfe

Advice for entitlement to Home to School Transport

NORTHUMBERLAND.GOV.UK

No comments:

Post a Comment