Have a say on school transport

HARTLEPOOL and East Durham voices need to be heard on school and college transport issues.

Councils in County Durham are reviewing changes to current school and college transport policies, and want local peoples opinions. The current policies are facing cuts in government grants and the council needs to save £125 million over the next four years. One way to do this is to reduce transport that is currently operating above provision law requirements. The review looks to save £5.5 million and plans currently stand at:

l Raising distance limits to only provide free transport for children over the age of 8, living over 3 miles from their nearest school, from September 2012.

l Stopping free transport to faith schools, except when required by law, from September 2012.

l Stopping free transport that allows children in certain communities to attend particular schools, from September 2012.

l To stop help for young people over 16 to travel to school or college, unless they cannot travel independently, from September 2011.

l To start charging for spare seats on buses for children that are not entitled lawfully to a free seat, from September 2011.

The review will close on May 10, anyone wanting to contribute their opinion can do so at www.durham.gov.uk/transportconsultation or pick up a form from The Admissions and Transport Entitlement Team at Durham County Council.