There is a statutory duty for Pembrokeshire County Council (as the local education authority) to provide pupils of statutory school age with free transport to their nearest suitable maintained school if they live over the statutory walking distance.
Free transport will be provided according to the law and Pembrokeshire County Council’s school transport policy as set out below. These arrangements apply to learners resident in Pembrokeshire or deemed to be the responsibility of Pembrokeshire County Council.
b) Walking distances
The Authority will provide transport:
1. Where a child of statutory school age, but under eight years of age, lives over two miles* from the nearest suitable school.
2. Where a child of statutory school age, age eight or over, lives over three miles* from the nearest suitable school.
* Measurement of shortest available distance is taken from the point where the private dwelling meets the public highway to the point where the nearest school entrance meets the public highway. The council reserves the right to name as suitable school one which is not the catchment school.
c) Suitable school
Transport will be provided to the catchment area school which is designated by the Authority to serve the pupil’s home address, or to the nearest suitable school.
d) Parental preference for a different school
The Authority will not provide transport or make any contribution towards transport costs for pupils admitted as a result of a parental expression of preference for a school which is not the nearest or catchment school. In these circumstances parents are responsible for making their own transport arrangements and for all transport costs. You are advised to consider the transport implications before making an expression of preference for a school place.
e) Nature of transport provision
Where transport arrangements are the responsibility of the Authority, in all cases the Authority will decide the most appropriate type of transport to be provided or whether to provide a mileage allowance.
f) Safe walking routes
The Authority will provide transport where it considers that a pupil cannot walk the nearest available route in reasonable safety when accompanied, if need be, by an adult, and if the alternative route is over the statutory walking distance from the school. In assessing the safety of an available route, consideration is given to the potential risk created by traffic, highway and topographical conditions and the availability of a fare paying bus service. Each case will be considered on its own merits.
g) Welsh medium schools
The Authority will provide transport to secondary Welsh medium education. Transport will only be provided from nominated pick-up points for pupils meeting the statutory distance criteria. Given the nature of these routes and the distances involved, it will be parents' responsibility to ensure that pupils come to the nominated pick up points. Those pupils attending Ysgol Glan Cleddau and Welsh Units in South Pembrokeshire who are resident within the area those schools are designated to serve, and schools in the north of the County, will be provided with transport to Ysgol Y Preseli from nominated points if distance criteria are met. (Note: other secondary schools also offer certain subjects through the medium of Welsh)
Those pupils from the area designated to be served by Ysgol y Preseli (currently the designated secondary bilingual school) whose parents do not wish them to receive a bilingual education will be provided with transport to the nearest alternative secondary school only; the provision relating to nominated pick up points applies equally in this case.
h) Voluntary Aided schools
Normal catchment area arrangements apply. The Authority will only provide transport on a concessionary basis to the nearest Voluntary Aided school within eight miles of the pupil's home where the pupil lives outside the statutory walking distance and where admission to the school is on faith grounds as evidenced by a supporting letter from the pupil's local priest/vicar. No such concessionary provision is made in the case of Voluntary Controlled schools.
i) Transport for learners aged 16+
The Authority will provide discretionary transport beyond the statutory school age where a Pembrokeshire learner resides over 3 miles from the nearest school or college where a suitable programme of study is available. The learner must be studying full time and under 19 years of age on 1st September of the academic year in which the course is taken. Transport will be provided to the catchment area secondary school which is designated by the Authority to serve the learner’s home address, or to the nearest school/college. General education (i.e. A/AS level or GCSE) is normally provided at the catchment school and transport will not normally be provided for attendance outside the catchment area for these programmes of study. Schools offer a wide range of subjects at aged 16+ and learners wishing to pursue general education would normally be expected to select from the range available. It is not the practice of the Authority to provide transport on the basis of individual subject choices.
j) Pupils with Special Educational Needs
The Authority will provide transport for statemented pupils in accordance with the following criteria:
• The pupil, because of his or her disability, is incapable of using the usual school transport provided for pupils living more than 2 miles from the catchment school if under the age of eight or 3 miles from the catchment school if over the age of eight.
• The pupil lives within 2 miles of the catchment primary school or within 3 miles of the catchment secondary school but is incapable of walking to school and is unable to make use of any alternative means of transport.
• The Inclusion Panel recommends that a pupil should be placed in a school which is not the catchment school and the above criteria are met.
• Medical advice from the pupil’s Medical Consultant confirms the requirement. No other medical professional’s advice will be accepted.
Transport is not provided for special needs pupils in the following circumstances:-
• where parents choose a non-catchment school
• to attend examinations outside the normal transport arrangements
• to attend Breakfast and After School Clubs
• to attend swimming lessons except if the child is a wheelchair user and cannot access swimming lessons otherwise, in which case Education may pay the parent to transport the child
The Authority may provide an attendant for pupils with statements of Special Educational Needs who qualify for transport under the defined criteria. Provision of attendants will take place after consideration by relevant officers of the individual needs of the pupil or group of pupils concerned and the nature of the transport available and is at the discretion of the Director of Education and Children’s Services.
k) Transport on medical grounds
The Authority will consider providing short term transport for pupils where a child requires transport on medical grounds at the discretion of the Director of Education and Children’s Services. Application should be made by letter to the SEN Manager, Pembrokeshire County Council, Education Service, County Hall, Haverfordwest SA61 1TP together with supporting evidence from the learners medical consultant. No other medical professional’s advice will be accepted.
l) Concessionary travel
Pupils who are not eligible for free transport, may be allowed concessionary places on contract vehicles, following a written application to the Director of Education and Children’s Services, if there are spare seats available. Such concessionary places are temporary and tenuous and may be withdrawn at any time at the discretion of the Authority e.g. when seats become unavailable. This could take place at short notice and responsibility for transport then reverts to parents. The Authority must determine the number of eligible pupils requiring transport in order to identify whether or not space places are available on contract vehicles. Therefore concessionary passes are not issued until a few weeks into the school year. The Authority has the right to charge for concessionary places on contract vehicles and may do so in accordance with its transport policy.
m) Schools in neighbouring authorities
The Authority will provide transport in accordance with the law and Authority policy in respect of pupils attending schools in neighbouring authorities.
n) Change of address
The Authority may provide transport for pupils, following a change of address during the final year of G.C.S.E or A level examinations, in order to ensure continuity of education. An application must be made to the Director of Education and Children’s Services. Such provision will not continue into Years 12 and 13 where pupils move in year 11.
o) Pupils under compulsory school age
The Authority has no legal responsibility to provide transport for pupils under compulsory school age and does not normally do so.
p) Codes of Practice
The Authority has drawn up Codes of Practice for all parties involved with school transport and these give advice and guidance on how the journey to and from school may be undertaken safely. The Code of Practice for pupils and students using school transport is published on this website.
q) Bus Passes
A bus pass will be issued to those pupils entitled to transport subject to acceptance of the code of practice. Passes must be carried daily and must be available for inspection by Authority Officers or contractors' personnel. Pupils without a bus pass may be refused travel. In the case of primary school pupils, inspection will be undertaken in the mornings only so that parents may retain possession of the bus pass. A charge will be made for a replacement bus pass. An application form for a bus pass is available on this website to download and print off. Printed forms should be completed in full, including signature by the school, and sent to the Director of Education and Children’s Services.
r) Pick up points
Due to the rural nature of the County it is not always possible to arrange the routes of vehicles to pass close to the homes of all pupils travelling. Parents may, therefore, be required to make their own arrangements for their children to get to and from the nearest pick-up point. Every effort will be made to keep this distance as short as possible. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that pupils are safely escorted to and from the vehicle.
s) Behaviour on school buses
Pupils whose behaviour during the journey to and from school is not of an acceptable standard may have the agreed travelling arrangements withdrawn and responsibility for transport to and from school will then fall on parents. CCTV cameras will be used on certain vehicles to monitor behaviour. The driver will be responsible for the supervision of pupils on the vehicle during the journey to and from school. The driver will report any incidents of bad behaviour to the Authority and the travelling arrangements may be withdrawn. Smoking is not permitted on vehicles contracted to the Authority.
The Authority or Contractors will seek recompense from parents where responsibility for wilful damage rests with their children.
u) Parental responsibility in relation to transport
Parents have the responsibility for:
• getting their child to and from school, where they do not qualify for transport;
• applying to the Director of Education and Children’s Services for transport where their child qualifies ;
• ensuring that their child is ready and waiting for transport at the appropriate time and place. The safety of the child is the responsibility of parents before embarking and after disembarking the bus. It is the parent’s responsibility to make arrangements for their child to meet the transport provided and for their child to be accompanied to and from the vehicle if required;
• ensuring that their child’s behaviour while using school transport is socially acceptable and complies with the Home to School Transport Code of Practice for Pupils;
• getting their child to and from school where transport has been withdrawn due to bad behaviour;
• informing the Authority in writing when school transport is no longer required.
v) Financial circumstances
The provision of transport is not influenced by parents' financial circumstances.
w) Transport Appeals
In the case of a dispute relating to the implementation and interpretation of home to school transport policy, an appeal should be made to the Director of Education and Children’s Services.
x) Review of transport routes
The Authority will review routes and transport provision on a regular basis in order to improve efficiency. Route changes may be implemented during the course of an academic year.