Oxfordshire free school transport consultation branded a shambles

Banbury Cake: Sue Moon, of the Oxon School Bus Action Group Sue Moon, of the Oxon School Bus Action Group

CAMPAIGNERS have branded a consultation into changing rules on entitlement to free school travel a “shambles” and want the plan to be abandoned.

It is the second time Oxfordshire County Council has tried to get the proposals off the ground, with the first consultation shelved earlier this year after the scheme was fiercely criticised.

Under the plans, which the council claims could save £2m, parents will be charged up to £584 a year if they do not send their children to the nearest school.

Campaigners from the Oxon School Bus Action Group say after taking legal advice they have notified the council of a number of failures in the new consultation process into the changes.

These include a lack of financial information to support savings predicted by the council, confusion caused by maps on the local authority’s website, and no assessment of the impact on different areas.

But the council said it would not bow to demands to withdraw the consultation and insisted the process has not been “inadequate”.

Co-ordinator for the group and parent Sue Moon said a Facebook group calling for the “unfair and damaging” plans to be withdrawn now has 1,150 members and the council should listen to public opinion.

She said: “We are still finding large numbers of affected parents who know nothing about how this new school bus tax would affect them.

“And those people who have already responded will have done so based on the limited information that seems to be drip-feeding out.

“It is a complete shambles yet again.

“These proposals will fundamentally change education in Oxfordshire forever, redrawing the school catchment maps and destroying valued primary-secondary partnerships.

“These proposals will not guarantee significant savings and in some cases they are likely to cost the council more.

“The least we could expect is that the council runs a vaguely competent consultation process.”

Parent Margot Nelson, a former chairman of governors at St Swithun’s Primary School in Kennington, will have to pay for her nine-year-old daughter Kaela to join her son Sam, 12, at Matthew Arnold School, in Cumnor Hill, under the new proposals.

She said: “We have asked to see an impact assessment and we have not seen that yet, so we don’t have the information we need.

“All the concerns we raised during the first consultation have not been addressed and are not being considered.”

Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “The council has undertaken a wide range of activities to ensure people are aware of the proposals and given the chance to comment.

“There have been some minor departures from the original timetable, and some updates to information online to provide further clarification.

“None of this has had any impact on the substance of the consultation, or the ability of people to submit an informed view on the proposals.”

Comments (42)

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10:48am Thu 5 Dec 13

alu355 says...

Agree with OCC that the bus/transport to schools system needs looking at. Hugely expensive (cost over £1000 per child per year), surely parents should be paying for their children to get to school where they can afford it.
Agree with OCC that the bus/transport to schools system needs looking at. Hugely expensive (cost over £1000 per child per year), surely parents should be paying for their children to get to school where they can afford it. alu355

1:14pm Thu 5 Dec 13

mytaxes says...

I agree alu355 parents want it all ways.
I agree alu355 parents want it all ways. mytaxes

5:10pm Thu 5 Dec 13

lsumner says...

The changes proposed here largely effect rural schools with existing catchment arrangements, and current costs per student are not £1k plus, this is innacurate. The savings the council suggest they will make are very unreliable indeed and in many areas will cost the council more if the proposals go through (some very good analysis on the OSBAG facebook site). These measures are ill thought out and potentially very detrimental to the education of many children, particularly those whose families will not be able to afford to send their children to their catchment school. The proposals if implemented would also split communities and send hundreds more cars out for the school run which will be disastrous for the roads in rural areas those around the affected schools (which are numerous).Parents don't want it all ways, just a fair way. These measure disproportionally disadvantage some areas.
The changes proposed here largely effect rural schools with existing catchment arrangements, and current costs per student are not £1k plus, this is innacurate. The savings the council suggest they will make are very unreliable indeed and in many areas will cost the council more if the proposals go through (some very good analysis on the OSBAG facebook site). These measures are ill thought out and potentially very detrimental to the education of many children, particularly those whose families will not be able to afford to send their children to their catchment school. The proposals if implemented would also split communities and send hundreds more cars out for the school run which will be disastrous for the roads in rural areas those around the affected schools (which are numerous).Parents don't want it all ways, just a fair way. These measure disproportionally disadvantage some areas. lsumner

5:19pm Thu 5 Dec 13

alu355 says...

If the costs of £1k per student are inaccurate can you provide the correct costs please?

Appreciate that no one wants to see more cars on the road but why should all council tax payers subsidise the few rural dwellers who could afford to pay for this themselves? It isn't fair to them to have to have a higher council tax bill for this.
If the costs of £1k per student are inaccurate can you provide the correct costs please? Appreciate that no one wants to see more cars on the road but why should all council tax payers subsidise the few rural dwellers who could afford to pay for this themselves? It isn't fair to them to have to have a higher council tax bill for this. alu355

6:23pm Thu 5 Dec 13

lsumner says...

On the basis of what the council are expecting parents to pay then it is £500-£600 per child as this is the expected payments they are putting in the proposals. A parent at one of the schools has done some excellent analysis showing how the proposed savings do not stack up at all and i'll try and get some of this info up here. And the trouble is it is not just a few rural dwellers, it is whole communities of people (some not very well off at all), who are being expected to break ties with their catchment school, often with links for tens of years and excellent partnership arrangements, because the council think they have found an opportunity to save money. many parents will get in cars and clog roads if they really have to, but then this makes attending your catchment school a matter of 'if-you-can-afford-i
t'. Many can't. There are plenty of efficiences that could be made to current systems and practices, especially with the use of taxis, and parents and schools effected are very keen to work with OCC to see how cost savings could be made.
On the basis of what the council are expecting parents to pay then it is £500-£600 per child as this is the expected payments they are putting in the proposals. A parent at one of the schools has done some excellent analysis showing how the proposed savings do not stack up at all and i'll try and get some of this info up here. And the trouble is it is not just a few rural dwellers, it is whole communities of people (some not very well off at all), who are being expected to break ties with their catchment school, often with links for tens of years and excellent partnership arrangements, because the council think they have found an opportunity to save money. many parents will get in cars and clog roads if they really have to, but then this makes attending your catchment school a matter of 'if-you-can-afford-i t'. Many can't. There are plenty of efficiences that could be made to current systems and practices, especially with the use of taxis, and parents and schools effected are very keen to work with OCC to see how cost savings could be made. lsumner

6:51pm Thu 5 Dec 13

alu355 says...

The £500-£600 per child is the subsidised cost by Oxfordshire County Council, not the actual cost of providing the service.

I have no problem with subsidising those who cannot afford it but many can, why should a child from a rural location have a free bus and one who lives marginally nearer their school not?
The £500-£600 per child is the subsidised cost by Oxfordshire County Council, not the actual cost of providing the service. I have no problem with subsidising those who cannot afford it but many can, why should a child from a rural location have a free bus and one who lives marginally nearer their school not? alu355

7:21pm Thu 5 Dec 13

jhalinson says...

The council has a tough call, they have to make £61 million of savings and home to school transport is one of the biggest spending areas where they are providing more than they are legally obliged to.
The council has a tough call, they have to make £61 million of savings and home to school transport is one of the biggest spending areas where they are providing more than they are legally obliged to. jhalinson

7:35pm Thu 5 Dec 13

lsumner says...

...because they cannot get there otherwise as some buses will stop under these proposals (add perversely it will be necessary to add new ones to take take their place in some areas). It will be very sad if all provision comes down to legal obligation. Many neighbouring councils have a policy which preserves current catchment but protects from potential increses that might come with greater choice of school when more become academies, or specialist schhols/UTCs are created. The savings call is tough, but these proposals do not stack up on the savings to anywhere near the 'headline' costs.
...because they cannot get there otherwise as some buses will stop under these proposals (add perversely it will be necessary to add new ones to take take their place in some areas). It will be very sad if all provision comes down to legal obligation. Many neighbouring councils have a policy which preserves current catchment but protects from potential increses that might come with greater choice of school when more become academies, or specialist schhols/UTCs are created. The savings call is tough, but these proposals do not stack up on the savings to anywhere near the 'headline' costs. lsumner

7:43pm Thu 5 Dec 13

jhalinson says...

The problem is that the costs of running these services means they are not long term viable. Just as many rural bus routes are being removed by Oxfordshire Council due to not being economically viable. The argument about whether it is cost effective to make the changes to nearest schools depends on whether most/many parents will stick to their catchment school or nearest school.
The problem is that the costs of running these services means they are not long term viable. Just as many rural bus routes are being removed by Oxfordshire Council due to not being economically viable. The argument about whether it is cost effective to make the changes to nearest schools depends on whether most/many parents will stick to their catchment school or nearest school. jhalinson

7:56pm Thu 5 Dec 13

mytaxes says...

Perhaps the parents could join together to pay for the transport? I do not object to paying for education from general tax and council tax, however, I do object to paying more and more to subsidise the parents choice. Even the city council is now paying towards education from council tax, not surprising that our council tax in Oxford is so high.
Perhaps the parents could join together to pay for the transport? I do not object to paying for education from general tax and council tax, however, I do object to paying more and more to subsidise the parents choice. Even the city council is now paying towards education from council tax, not surprising that our council tax in Oxford is so high. mytaxes

8:46pm Thu 5 Dec 13

suemoon says...

alu355 wrote:
Agree with OCC that the bus/transport to schools system needs looking at. Hugely expensive (cost over £1000 per child per year), surely parents should be paying for their children to get to school where they can afford it.
One of the (many) problems with these proposals is that they are not targeting those who can afford it, but those who, because of the way catchment areas are shaped in this county, are more than 3 miles away from their school. We are not talking about people 'choosing' a school which is further away here, we are talking about kids taking the natural route, the route OCC admissions expect them to take, from their primary school to their catchement secondary school. This policy will segregate people. Those who, like you say, "can afford it" will be able to get their kids to the catchment school and those who can't will have no choice, but to be separated from their friends and go to a different school from the one they have been prepared for all their school lives and in many cases, the school their older siblings attend. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, what OCC are not telling you is that they are assuming that NO-ONE, that's right, no-one will take up the offer of the bus to their nearest school. Partly because they know how much people value their links to their catchment school, but mainly because that's the only way these proposals can save money. This assumption is deeply flawed though, because many cannot afford it. This is why this consultation has to end with the cabinet voting against it, it is not going to save any money!!!
[quote][p][bold]alu355[/bold] wrote: Agree with OCC that the bus/transport to schools system needs looking at. Hugely expensive (cost over £1000 per child per year), surely parents should be paying for their children to get to school where they can afford it.[/p][/quote]One of the (many) problems with these proposals is that they are not targeting those who can afford it, but those who, because of the way catchment areas are shaped in this county, are more than 3 miles away from their school. We are not talking about people 'choosing' a school which is further away here, we are talking about kids taking the natural route, the route OCC admissions expect them to take, from their primary school to their catchement secondary school. This policy will segregate people. Those who, like you say, "can afford it" will be able to get their kids to the catchment school and those who can't will have no choice, but to be separated from their friends and go to a different school from the one they have been prepared for all their school lives and in many cases, the school their older siblings attend. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, what OCC are not telling you is that they are assuming that NO-ONE, that's right, no-one will take up the offer of the bus to their nearest school. Partly because they know how much people value their links to their catchment school, but mainly because that's the only way these proposals can save money. This assumption is deeply flawed though, because many cannot afford it. This is why this consultation has to end with the cabinet voting against it, it is not going to save any money!!! suemoon

8:51pm Thu 5 Dec 13

suemoon says...

jhalinson wrote:
The council has a tough call, they have to make £61 million of savings and home to school transport is one of the biggest spending areas where they are providing more than they are legally obliged to.
These proposals will not save anything now. They will not save anywhere near the £1-2m the council claim ever. There is a much higher likelihood that they might save something like £2-300k, but it is even more likely that they will cost the council money. If we need to save money now let's not bank everything on a bonkers proposal that is unfair and inequitable (2 of Cllr Hudspeth's 3 criteria for any cuts), not guaranteed to save money (his 3rd), and will not deliver for another 5 years.
[quote][p][bold]jhalinson[/bold] wrote: The council has a tough call, they have to make £61 million of savings and home to school transport is one of the biggest spending areas where they are providing more than they are legally obliged to.[/p][/quote]These proposals will not save anything now. They will not save anywhere near the £1-2m the council claim ever. There is a much higher likelihood that they might save something like £2-300k, but it is even more likely that they will cost the council money. If we need to save money now let's not bank everything on a bonkers proposal that is unfair and inequitable (2 of Cllr Hudspeth's 3 criteria for any cuts), not guaranteed to save money (his 3rd), and will not deliver for another 5 years. suemoon

8:53pm Thu 5 Dec 13

suemoon says...

mytaxes wrote:
I agree alu355 parents want it all ways.
That's not even worth a proper response!
[quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: I agree alu355 parents want it all ways.[/p][/quote]That's not even worth a proper response! suemoon

8:59pm Thu 5 Dec 13

suemoon says...

mytaxes wrote:
Perhaps the parents could join together to pay for the transport? I do not object to paying for education from general tax and council tax, however, I do object to paying more and more to subsidise the parents choice. Even the city council is now paying towards education from council tax, not surprising that our council tax in Oxford is so high.
The cost is prohibitively expensive for small numbers of people to run a big bus. We have looked into this. No-one is asking you to subsidise parent's choice. The vast majority of parents want to do what OCC want them to do, send their kids to their catchment school. The OCC admissions policy prioritises children in catchment for admission to that school. Most parents don't give this a moment's thought because they are so happy with the way that primary partnerships prepare their kids for transition to their catchment school and they want them to move up with their mates. This is what OCC plan to destroy with these proposals. Or do they? Actually they don't. They don't plan to change the admissions rules, they are just saying you now have to pay to abide by them it. It is unfair and it is dishonest.
[quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: Perhaps the parents could join together to pay for the transport? I do not object to paying for education from general tax and council tax, however, I do object to paying more and more to subsidise the parents choice. Even the city council is now paying towards education from council tax, not surprising that our council tax in Oxford is so high.[/p][/quote]The cost is prohibitively expensive for small numbers of people to run a big bus. We have looked into this. No-one is asking you to subsidise parent's choice. The vast majority of parents want to do what OCC want them to do, send their kids to their catchment school. The OCC admissions policy prioritises children in catchment for admission to that school. Most parents don't give this a moment's thought because they are so happy with the way that primary partnerships prepare their kids for transition to their catchment school and they want them to move up with their mates. This is what OCC plan to destroy with these proposals. Or do they? Actually they don't. They don't plan to change the admissions rules, they are just saying you now have to pay to abide by them it. It is unfair and it is dishonest. suemoon

9:49pm Thu 5 Dec 13

jhalinson says...

Most parents have to drive their kids to school. Is car sharing not an option?
Most parents have to drive their kids to school. Is car sharing not an option? jhalinson

11:03pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

suemoon wrote:
mytaxes wrote:
Perhaps the parents could join together to pay for the transport? I do not object to paying for education from general tax and council tax, however, I do object to paying more and more to subsidise the parents choice. Even the city council is now paying towards education from council tax, not surprising that our council tax in Oxford is so high.
The cost is prohibitively expensive for small numbers of people to run a big bus. We have looked into this. No-one is asking you to subsidise parent's choice. The vast majority of parents want to do what OCC want them to do, send their kids to their catchment school. The OCC admissions policy prioritises children in catchment for admission to that school. Most parents don't give this a moment's thought because they are so happy with the way that primary partnerships prepare their kids for transition to their catchment school and they want them to move up with their mates. This is what OCC plan to destroy with these proposals. Or do they? Actually they don't. They don't plan to change the admissions rules, they are just saying you now have to pay to abide by them it. It is unfair and it is dishonest.
Then clearly the "catchment areas" need to be redefined.

After 6 years the alleged community links will be completely broken and people will wonder what all the fuss was about.

It's not like the olden days when grandparents, parents, children all went to the same primary then high school. People develop relationships from outside their local village and move away for work.
[quote][p][bold]suemoon[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: Perhaps the parents could join together to pay for the transport? I do not object to paying for education from general tax and council tax, however, I do object to paying more and more to subsidise the parents choice. Even the city council is now paying towards education from council tax, not surprising that our council tax in Oxford is so high.[/p][/quote]The cost is prohibitively expensive for small numbers of people to run a big bus. We have looked into this. No-one is asking you to subsidise parent's choice. The vast majority of parents want to do what OCC want them to do, send their kids to their catchment school. The OCC admissions policy prioritises children in catchment for admission to that school. Most parents don't give this a moment's thought because they are so happy with the way that primary partnerships prepare their kids for transition to their catchment school and they want them to move up with their mates. This is what OCC plan to destroy with these proposals. Or do they? Actually they don't. They don't plan to change the admissions rules, they are just saying you now have to pay to abide by them it. It is unfair and it is dishonest.[/p][/quote]Then clearly the "catchment areas" need to be redefined. After 6 years the alleged community links will be completely broken and people will wonder what all the fuss was about. It's not like the olden days when grandparents, parents, children all went to the same primary then high school. People develop relationships from outside their local village and move away for work. Andrew:Oxford

6:29am Fri 6 Dec 13

jhalinson says...

It all sounds very quaint, go to a chosen primary school and your life is set out for you but in the modern world most children change primary schools as well as secondary schools whilst they are there. Being able to do so and mix with new children is a vital part of learning, prepares you for the need to be doing this every few years as you progress through your career.
It all sounds very quaint, go to a chosen primary school and your life is set out for you but in the modern world most children change primary schools as well as secondary schools whilst they are there. Being able to do so and mix with new children is a vital part of learning, prepares you for the need to be doing this every few years as you progress through your career. jhalinson

6:54am Fri 6 Dec 13

Chris Fyfe says...

First of all the three mile thing is the law of the land. This is about how the law is organised not about whether the service is provided or not. For those of you worried about the costs of school transport you should oppose these proposals as they could easily cost more money. It is a pig in a poke.

The problem is that this idea looks good on paper as a way to save money, even though it will cause a lot of chaos and distress.

But like a lot of ideas that are good on paper even a basic examination shows that it is unlikely to make any of the savings claimed. The only guaranteed savings are for those people who have a nearer school than the catchment school that is less than 3 miles away - and even then only if that school has places available and if there is a safe walking route.

For the rest of Oxfordshire there is no saving for moving kids from one school to another. The council have admitted that the distance involved is not a big factor in the cost. They are depending on parents preferring to organise and pay for their own transport to existing schools rather than get a free bus to a new school. If half the parents chose to go to the school with the free bus there is no saving at all.

It also gets crazy where the school with the free bus is getting full. So parents who apply to that school and get in will get a free bus but those who can't get in would get a free bus to their old catchment school. So instead of one bus running from a community there are two. This could easily cost more money!!!! The council simply do not know.

I think many people realise that in these times sacrifices have to be made. But this is so badly thought out that it could cost us even more.
First of all the three mile thing is the law of the land. This is about how the law is organised not about whether the service is provided or not. For those of you worried about the costs of school transport you should oppose these proposals as they could easily cost more money. It is a pig in a poke. The problem is that this idea looks good on paper as a way to save money, even though it will cause a lot of chaos and distress. But like a lot of ideas that are good on paper even a basic examination shows that it is unlikely to make any of the savings claimed. The only guaranteed savings are for those people who have a nearer school than the catchment school that is less than 3 miles away - and even then only if that school has places available and if there is a safe walking route. For the rest of Oxfordshire there is no saving for moving kids from one school to another. The council have admitted that the distance involved is not a big factor in the cost. They are depending on parents preferring to organise and pay for their own transport to existing schools rather than get a free bus to a new school. If half the parents chose to go to the school with the free bus there is no saving at all. It also gets crazy where the school with the free bus is getting full. So parents who apply to that school and get in will get a free bus but those who can't get in would get a free bus to their old catchment school. So instead of one bus running from a community there are two. This could easily cost more money!!!! The council simply do not know. I think many people realise that in these times sacrifices have to be made. But this is so badly thought out that it could cost us even more. Chris Fyfe

7:28am Fri 6 Dec 13

suemoon says...

jhalinson wrote:
It all sounds very quaint, go to a chosen primary school and your life is set out for you but in the modern world most children change primary schools as well as secondary schools whilst they are there. Being able to do so and mix with new children is a vital part of learning, prepares you for the need to be doing this every few years as you progress through your career.
"Most children change primary school" where on earth do your children go to school? And why on earth do they keep changing? How bizarre! Kids learn to mix with new children throughout their lives, you don't need to disrupt their education to give them new experiences! Read Chris Fyfe's comment to see how you have been hoodwinked by the council.
[quote][p][bold]jhalinson[/bold] wrote: It all sounds very quaint, go to a chosen primary school and your life is set out for you but in the modern world most children change primary schools as well as secondary schools whilst they are there. Being able to do so and mix with new children is a vital part of learning, prepares you for the need to be doing this every few years as you progress through your career.[/p][/quote]"Most children change primary school" where on earth do your children go to school? And why on earth do they keep changing? How bizarre! Kids learn to mix with new children throughout their lives, you don't need to disrupt their education to give them new experiences! Read Chris Fyfe's comment to see how you have been hoodwinked by the council. suemoon

8:19am Fri 6 Dec 13

yarnton_mum says...

As long as the buses are still guaranteed to be run I have no problem in contributing to the cost of them. They allow me to go to work knowing that my children will be taken to school safely. I am more worried that they will eventually take the bus away from us and then I will be forced to pay for a taxi or work part-time instead.
As long as the buses are still guaranteed to be run I have no problem in contributing to the cost of them. They allow me to go to work knowing that my children will be taken to school safely. I am more worried that they will eventually take the bus away from us and then I will be forced to pay for a taxi or work part-time instead. yarnton_mum

8:26am Fri 6 Dec 13

jhalinson says...

suemoon wrote:
jhalinson wrote:
It all sounds very quaint, go to a chosen primary school and your life is set out for you but in the modern world most children change primary schools as well as secondary schools whilst they are there. Being able to do so and mix with new children is a vital part of learning, prepares you for the need to be doing this every few years as you progress through your career.
"Most children change primary school" where on earth do your children go to school? And why on earth do they keep changing? How bizarre! Kids learn to mix with new children throughout their lives, you don't need to disrupt their education to give them new experiences! Read Chris Fyfe's comment to see how you have been hoodwinked by the council.
Oxfordshire County Council figures show that on average just under 10% of primary school children change schools every year in Oxford (this is slightly higher in the independent sector). This may be different for local villages. 10% a year over 7 years of primary schooling equates to approximately 70% of children changing primary schools at least once during their primary education (some will change more than once)

This does not need to be disruptive at all, in fact many are planned as part of a 1 or 2 year placement in the UK, for example for professors working at the Universities or workers at BMW and the children come out all the better for it.

However this is going off topic somewhat. I would rather understand what other options this group can propose to save money if the council's options are not suitable.
[quote][p][bold]suemoon[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jhalinson[/bold] wrote: It all sounds very quaint, go to a chosen primary school and your life is set out for you but in the modern world most children change primary schools as well as secondary schools whilst they are there. Being able to do so and mix with new children is a vital part of learning, prepares you for the need to be doing this every few years as you progress through your career.[/p][/quote]"Most children change primary school" where on earth do your children go to school? And why on earth do they keep changing? How bizarre! Kids learn to mix with new children throughout their lives, you don't need to disrupt their education to give them new experiences! Read Chris Fyfe's comment to see how you have been hoodwinked by the council.[/p][/quote]Oxfordshire County Council figures show that on average just under 10% of primary school children change schools every year in Oxford (this is slightly higher in the independent sector). This may be different for local villages. 10% a year over 7 years of primary schooling equates to approximately 70% of children changing primary schools at least once during their primary education (some will change more than once) This does not need to be disruptive at all, in fact many are planned as part of a 1 or 2 year placement in the UK, for example for professors working at the Universities or workers at BMW and the children come out all the better for it. However this is going off topic somewhat. I would rather understand what other options this group can propose to save money if the council's options are not suitable. jhalinson

9:05am Fri 6 Dec 13

alu355 says...

It sounds like most parents don't want to change schools for the sake of £600 per child so maybe OCC has got it right.
It sounds like most parents don't want to change schools for the sake of £600 per child so maybe OCC has got it right. alu355

2:08pm Fri 6 Dec 13

lsumner says...

Quite apart from the fact the savings are unproved and the proposals devisive in terms of community you keep missing the point that many can't afford this.
Quite apart from the fact the savings are unproved and the proposals devisive in terms of community you keep missing the point that many can't afford this. lsumner

2:14pm Fri 6 Dec 13

alu355 says...

Those that can't afford it won't have to pay (where earnings are under the free school meals threshold)
Those that can't afford it won't have to pay (where earnings are under the free school meals threshold) alu355

10:47pm Fri 6 Dec 13

roger64 says...

alu355

Your comments are really interesting and helpful to understand that its not only the council that don't care about tomorrows adults.
Do you use the counties roads or use any local council amenities? How much do you use them, is it more than my family, if so why I am subsidising you. Do you believe you should get a bus pass when you retire, why should I subsidise you with my tax.
Its the same argument, however I accept that before I had children I paid towards them and I also pay towards anything else that I may not use yet is a valuable amenity.
alu355 Your comments are really interesting and helpful to understand that its not only the council that don't care about tomorrows adults. Do you use the counties roads or use any local council amenities? How much do you use them, is it more than my family, if so why I am subsidising you. Do you believe you should get a bus pass when you retire, why should I subsidise you with my tax. Its the same argument, however I accept that before I had children I paid towards them and I also pay towards anything else that I may not use yet is a valuable amenity. roger64

10:52pm Fri 6 Dec 13

alu355 says...

If I use the roads more then I pay more in fuel tax. Everyone who reaches retirement age gets a 'free' bus pass but not every child is being offered a free bus to school.
If I use the roads more then I pay more in fuel tax. Everyone who reaches retirement age gets a 'free' bus pass but not every child is being offered a free bus to school. alu355

1:22am Sat 7 Dec 13

MHN123 says...

There are alternative ways to save money on home to school transport. For example, we have suggested that improved public transport provision in our village would enable 210 children to use public transport rather than 3 dedicated school coaches to our catchment school.

It took 90 children 1.5 hours to complete half the journey to our catchment school, using public transport today, because (1) insufficient capacity and (2) no direct bus route. It would take more than 3 hours for 210 children to travel on public transport to our catchment school given the current capacity and bus routes. It would also take more than 3 hours for 210 children to travel on public transport to our nearest school for the same reasons.

Under these proposals school coaches to our catchment school are to be phased out - even for those who can afford them, there will be no option to pay for them in future. In our village, those who can't afford it (those on free school meals) will not be eligible for free school transport to their catchment school under these proposals.

We urge the council to reject the home to school transport proposals and to look at better ways of making real cost savings.
There are alternative ways to save money on home to school transport. For example, we have suggested that improved public transport provision in our village would enable 210 children to use public transport rather than 3 dedicated school coaches to our catchment school. It took 90 children 1.5 hours to complete half the journey to our catchment school, using public transport today, because (1) insufficient capacity and (2) no direct bus route. It would take more than 3 hours for 210 children to travel on public transport to our catchment school given the current capacity and bus routes. It would also take more than 3 hours for 210 children to travel on public transport to our nearest school for the same reasons. Under these proposals school coaches to our catchment school are to be phased out - even for those who can afford them, there will be no option to pay for them in future. In our village, those who can't afford it (those on free school meals) will not be eligible for free school transport to their catchment school under these proposals. We urge the council to reject the home to school transport proposals and to look at better ways of making real cost savings. MHN123

8:34am Sat 7 Dec 13

Rural Dweller says...

alu355 wrote:
If the costs of £1k per student are inaccurate can you provide the correct costs please?

Appreciate that no one wants to see more cars on the road but why should all council tax payers subsidise the few rural dwellers who could afford to pay for this themselves? It isn't fair to them to have to have a higher council tax bill for this.
I am a rural dweller. I have paid tax all of my life. Some people say 'we don't have kids why should we subsidise buses?' Agree but I don't have a disabled child, why should I pay for respite care? I don't go out walking in the dark, why should I fund street lights? I don't create much rubbish, why should I pat the same as my neighbour who creates twice as much? I didn't plan on living in a village, and to be honest, when I moved here, I hadn't planned on having children. Why should all parents 'have to live in towns' just so that their children can walk to school? You can't just make assumptions that living in a rural location means you have he ability to pay for school transport. To keep my house, I am currently working ridiculous hours and would not be able to get my children to school. A large proportion of village children are living in social housing and wouldn't qualify for free transport nor would they be able to afford to pay. Oxfordshire County Council have been provided with money saving ideas that will protect them from the future costs that are their main cause for concern. Let's hope they give them some careful consideration.
[quote][p][bold]alu355[/bold] wrote: If the costs of £1k per student are inaccurate can you provide the correct costs please? Appreciate that no one wants to see more cars on the road but why should all council tax payers subsidise the few rural dwellers who could afford to pay for this themselves? It isn't fair to them to have to have a higher council tax bill for this.[/p][/quote]I am a rural dweller. I have paid tax all of my life. Some people say 'we don't have kids why should we subsidise buses?' Agree but I don't have a disabled child, why should I pay for respite care? I don't go out walking in the dark, why should I fund street lights? I don't create much rubbish, why should I pat the same as my neighbour who creates twice as much? I didn't plan on living in a village, and to be honest, when I moved here, I hadn't planned on having children. Why should all parents 'have to live in towns' just so that their children can walk to school? You can't just make assumptions that living in a rural location means you have he ability to pay for school transport. To keep my house, I am currently working ridiculous hours and would not be able to get my children to school. A large proportion of village children are living in social housing and wouldn't qualify for free transport nor would they be able to afford to pay. Oxfordshire County Council have been provided with money saving ideas that will protect them from the future costs that are their main cause for concern. Let's hope they give them some careful consideration. Rural Dweller

8:39am Sat 7 Dec 13

Rural Dweller says...

lsumner wrote:
The changes proposed here largely effect rural schools with existing catchment arrangements, and current costs per student are not £1k plus, this is innacurate. The savings the council suggest they will make are very unreliable indeed and in many areas will cost the council more if the proposals go through (some very good analysis on the OSBAG facebook site). These measures are ill thought out and potentially very detrimental to the education of many children, particularly those whose families will not be able to afford to send their children to their catchment school. The proposals if implemented would also split communities and send hundreds more cars out for the school run which will be disastrous for the roads in rural areas those around the affected schools (which are numerous).Parents don't want it all ways, just a fair way. These measure disproportionally disadvantage some areas.
Anybody reading this really should check the OSBAG Facebook site as it contains all the FACTS. Alternatively get onto the OCC website and actually read the consultation and the supporting documents. We can all base opinions on rumour and whispers but the hard facts are there to be seen for all. The consultation is looking to be 'fair and equitable' but sadly it isn't. It is a really tough situation and as I said above, anyone with a genuine interest really should check out all the information available.
[quote][p][bold]lsumner[/bold] wrote: The changes proposed here largely effect rural schools with existing catchment arrangements, and current costs per student are not £1k plus, this is innacurate. The savings the council suggest they will make are very unreliable indeed and in many areas will cost the council more if the proposals go through (some very good analysis on the OSBAG facebook site). These measures are ill thought out and potentially very detrimental to the education of many children, particularly those whose families will not be able to afford to send their children to their catchment school. The proposals if implemented would also split communities and send hundreds more cars out for the school run which will be disastrous for the roads in rural areas those around the affected schools (which are numerous).Parents don't want it all ways, just a fair way. These measure disproportionally disadvantage some areas.[/p][/quote]Anybody reading this really should check the OSBAG Facebook site as it contains all the FACTS. Alternatively get onto the OCC website and actually read the consultation and the supporting documents. We can all base opinions on rumour and whispers but the hard facts are there to be seen for all. The consultation is looking to be 'fair and equitable' but sadly it isn't. It is a really tough situation and as I said above, anyone with a genuine interest really should check out all the information available. Rural Dweller

8:58am Sat 7 Dec 13

Rural Dweller says...

Rural Dweller wrote:
lsumner wrote:
The changes proposed here largely effect rural schools with existing catchment arrangements, and current costs per student are not £1k plus, this is innacurate. The savings the council suggest they will make are very unreliable indeed and in many areas will cost the council more if the proposals go through (some very good analysis on the OSBAG facebook site). These measures are ill thought out and potentially very detrimental to the education of many children, particularly those whose families will not be able to afford to send their children to their catchment school. The proposals if implemented would also split communities and send hundreds more cars out for the school run which will be disastrous for the roads in rural areas those around the affected schools (which are numerous).Parents don't want it all ways, just a fair way. These measure disproportionally disadvantage some areas.
Anybody reading this really should check the OSBAG Facebook site as it contains all the FACTS. Alternatively get onto the OCC website and actually read the consultation and the supporting documents. We can all base opinions on rumour and whispers but the hard facts are there to be seen for all. The consultation is looking to be 'fair and equitable' but sadly it isn't. It is a really tough situation and as I said above, anyone with a genuine interest really should check out all the information available.
Yes, they are currently providing 'marginally' more than they are legally obliged to. However, there is a reason for this. Oxfordshire is the most rural county in the South East of England - http://www.oxfordshi
re.gov.uk/cms/public
-site/about-oxfordsh
ire - unfortunately that fact presents us with a while host of issues that other counties do not have to consider. The 'one fits all' just doesn't cut it here. I do believe that OCC could save some money on their transport arrangements but what is currently being proposed has not been properly though through and will actually cost Oxfordshire more. If you are keen to be a part of the consultation process I urge you to read through all of the information being posted on the Oxon School Bus Action Group Facebook page as it contains some really useful information and excellent detail on all matters currently being raised.
[quote][p][bold]Rural Dweller[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]lsumner[/bold] wrote: The changes proposed here largely effect rural schools with existing catchment arrangements, and current costs per student are not £1k plus, this is innacurate. The savings the council suggest they will make are very unreliable indeed and in many areas will cost the council more if the proposals go through (some very good analysis on the OSBAG facebook site). These measures are ill thought out and potentially very detrimental to the education of many children, particularly those whose families will not be able to afford to send their children to their catchment school. The proposals if implemented would also split communities and send hundreds more cars out for the school run which will be disastrous for the roads in rural areas those around the affected schools (which are numerous).Parents don't want it all ways, just a fair way. These measure disproportionally disadvantage some areas.[/p][/quote]Anybody reading this really should check the OSBAG Facebook site as it contains all the FACTS. Alternatively get onto the OCC website and actually read the consultation and the supporting documents. We can all base opinions on rumour and whispers but the hard facts are there to be seen for all. The consultation is looking to be 'fair and equitable' but sadly it isn't. It is a really tough situation and as I said above, anyone with a genuine interest really should check out all the information available.[/p][/quote]Yes, they are currently providing 'marginally' more than they are legally obliged to. However, there is a reason for this. Oxfordshire is the most rural county in the South East of England - http://www.oxfordshi re.gov.uk/cms/public -site/about-oxfordsh ire - unfortunately that fact presents us with a while host of issues that other counties do not have to consider. The 'one fits all' just doesn't cut it here. I do believe that OCC could save some money on their transport arrangements but what is currently being proposed has not been properly though through and will actually cost Oxfordshire more. If you are keen to be a part of the consultation process I urge you to read through all of the information being posted on the Oxon School Bus Action Group Facebook page as it contains some really useful information and excellent detail on all matters currently being raised. Rural Dweller

9:01am Sat 7 Dec 13

Rural Dweller says...

mytaxes wrote:
I agree alu355 parents want it all ways.
No. Just a fair and equitable system will do for now. Happy for changes but current proposed changes haven't been thought through and will actually cost the tax payer more! Fairly sure none of us want that!
[quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: I agree alu355 parents want it all ways.[/p][/quote]No. Just a fair and equitable system will do for now. Happy for changes but current proposed changes haven't been thought through and will actually cost the tax payer more! Fairly sure none of us want that! Rural Dweller

9:03am Sat 7 Dec 13

Rural Dweller says...

alu355 wrote:
Agree with OCC that the bus/transport to schools system needs looking at. Hugely expensive (cost over £1000 per child per year), surely parents should be paying for their children to get to school where they can afford it.
Those that can afford are generally happy to pay/contribute. The bigger problem here is that some bus routes will be removed altogether thus removing the link from catchment primary to catchment secondary. The irony is that by removing some of those bus routes, the alternative is actually more expensive once you actually dig deep and do the maths.
[quote][p][bold]alu355[/bold] wrote: Agree with OCC that the bus/transport to schools system needs looking at. Hugely expensive (cost over £1000 per child per year), surely parents should be paying for their children to get to school where they can afford it.[/p][/quote]Those that can afford are generally happy to pay/contribute. The bigger problem here is that some bus routes will be removed altogether thus removing the link from catchment primary to catchment secondary. The irony is that by removing some of those bus routes, the alternative is actually more expensive once you actually dig deep and do the maths. Rural Dweller

9:07am Sat 7 Dec 13

Rural Dweller says...

alu355 wrote:
The £500-£600 per child is the subsidised cost by Oxfordshire County Council, not the actual cost of providing the service.

I have no problem with subsidising those who cannot afford it but many can, why should a child from a rural location have a free bus and one who lives marginally nearer their school not?
The 3 mile limit is the law of the land and cannot be changed. However, on my particular bus route £500-£600 per child is more than the actual cost.
[quote][p][bold]alu355[/bold] wrote: The £500-£600 per child is the subsidised cost by Oxfordshire County Council, not the actual cost of providing the service. I have no problem with subsidising those who cannot afford it but many can, why should a child from a rural location have a free bus and one who lives marginally nearer their school not?[/p][/quote]The 3 mile limit is the law of the land and cannot be changed. However, on my particular bus route £500-£600 per child is more than the actual cost. Rural Dweller

9:11am Sat 7 Dec 13

Rural Dweller says...

alu355 wrote:
Those that can't afford it won't have to pay (where earnings are under the free school meals threshold)
I can't afford an extra £50 a month so for me it is an appalling situation.
[quote][p][bold]alu355[/bold] wrote: Those that can't afford it won't have to pay (where earnings are under the free school meals threshold)[/p][/quote]I can't afford an extra £50 a month so for me it is an appalling situation. Rural Dweller

9:14am Sat 7 Dec 13

Rural Dweller says...

alu355 wrote:
It sounds like most parents don't want to change schools for the sake of £600 per child so maybe OCC has got it right.
Define 'most!'
[quote][p][bold]alu355[/bold] wrote: It sounds like most parents don't want to change schools for the sake of £600 per child so maybe OCC has got it right.[/p][/quote]Define 'most!' Rural Dweller

9:15am Sat 7 Dec 13

suemoon says...

alu355 wrote:
If I use the roads more then I pay more in fuel tax. Everyone who reaches retirement age gets a 'free' bus pass but not every child is being offered a free bus to school.
That's because some of them can walk! That's the law! If you live close to your school and the route is safe you don't get a bus. Free bus passes for kids to use public transport, like they do in London, would be fantastic, but that's not what we're being consulted on. Why not suggest it to the council? Those of us who live in the sticks aren't lucky enough to have public transport routes running to our schools.
[quote][p][bold]alu355[/bold] wrote: If I use the roads more then I pay more in fuel tax. Everyone who reaches retirement age gets a 'free' bus pass but not every child is being offered a free bus to school.[/p][/quote]That's because some of them can walk! That's the law! If you live close to your school and the route is safe you don't get a bus. Free bus passes for kids to use public transport, like they do in London, would be fantastic, but that's not what we're being consulted on. Why not suggest it to the council? Those of us who live in the sticks aren't lucky enough to have public transport routes running to our schools. suemoon

9:18am Sat 7 Dec 13

suemoon says...

alu355 wrote:
Those that can't afford it won't have to pay (where earnings are under the free school meals threshold)
and what about those just above that threshold? Their children will be stigmatised because they won't be able to afford to get to the catchment school with the friends who can. It's social engineering. Nothing less.
[quote][p][bold]alu355[/bold] wrote: Those that can't afford it won't have to pay (where earnings are under the free school meals threshold)[/p][/quote]and what about those just above that threshold? Their children will be stigmatised because they won't be able to afford to get to the catchment school with the friends who can. It's social engineering. Nothing less. suemoon

9:21am Sat 7 Dec 13

Rural Dweller says...

jhalinson wrote:
Most parents have to drive their kids to school. Is car sharing not an option?
Car sharing always sounds good on paper but the reality is somewhat different. I can only speak from my experience but 1 have 2 children, my friends have 2-3 children all needing to go to the same place. That would mean I could only car share with 1 other person with maximum of 2 children due to number of seats in my car. 4 teens with regular school bags is achievable but on PE days my little car would not get their kit in! My current working hours would only permit me to take in the morning. This situation is the same for all the parents in my village. The fact is that modern society has us all working full time and parenting can only happen after 5.30! Of the 50 children currently being transported from our village, only 1 parent is able to drive both ways.
[quote][p][bold]jhalinson[/bold] wrote: Most parents have to drive their kids to school. Is car sharing not an option?[/p][/quote]Car sharing always sounds good on paper but the reality is somewhat different. I can only speak from my experience but 1 have 2 children, my friends have 2-3 children all needing to go to the same place. That would mean I could only car share with 1 other person with maximum of 2 children due to number of seats in my car. 4 teens with regular school bags is achievable but on PE days my little car would not get their kit in! My current working hours would only permit me to take in the morning. This situation is the same for all the parents in my village. The fact is that modern society has us all working full time and parenting can only happen after 5.30! Of the 50 children currently being transported from our village, only 1 parent is able to drive both ways. Rural Dweller

10:13am Sat 7 Dec 13

alu355 says...

suemoon wrote:
alu355 wrote:
Those that can't afford it won't have to pay (where earnings are under the free school meals threshold)
and what about those just above that threshold? Their children will be stigmatised because they won't be able to afford to get to the catchment school with the friends who can. It's social engineering. Nothing less.
That's the same with any benefits paid up to a certain threshold though. Ideally it would be tapered above this but that's the system we all have to live with. If you earn £16,189 you get free school meals, if you earn £16,190 you don't.
[quote][p][bold]suemoon[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]alu355[/bold] wrote: Those that can't afford it won't have to pay (where earnings are under the free school meals threshold)[/p][/quote]and what about those just above that threshold? Their children will be stigmatised because they won't be able to afford to get to the catchment school with the friends who can. It's social engineering. Nothing less.[/p][/quote]That's the same with any benefits paid up to a certain threshold though. Ideally it would be tapered above this but that's the system we all have to live with. If you earn £16,189 you get free school meals, if you earn £16,190 you don't. alu355

10:16am Sat 7 Dec 13

MHN123 says...

Under the new proposals, children in my village who receive free school meals will NOT be entitled to free school transport to their catchment school.
Under the new proposals, children in my village who receive free school meals will NOT be entitled to free school transport to their catchment school. MHN123

11:35am Wed 11 Dec 13

East Oxford Web Watcher says...

After reading all the above comments, both pro and anti I fail to see the problem. Those that cannot take their offspring to school through work commitments or just plain laziness, should order a Taxi or Private Hire to take them (or get a closer to home school) and those on Benefits who are excluded, be happy that your offspring are getting an education on the free paid by those of us that do a thing called "work" and pay a large amount of Tax out of our salary to educate? them. Either way be thankful that you get free education off of our hard work, and let the moths out of your wallets and pay for your offspring to attend said educational establishments.The Council; does not have a blank cheque book for you.
After reading all the above comments, both pro and anti I fail to see the problem. Those that cannot take their offspring to school through work commitments or just plain laziness, should order a Taxi or Private Hire to take them (or get a closer to home school) and those on Benefits who are excluded, be happy that your offspring are getting an education on the free paid by those of us that do a thing called "work" and pay a large amount of Tax out of our salary to educate? them. Either way be thankful that you get free education off of our hard work, and let the moths out of your wallets and pay for your offspring to attend said educational establishments.The Council; does not have a blank cheque book for you. East Oxford Web Watcher

2:08pm Wed 11 Dec 13

yarnton_mum says...

I work and pay my taxes, if I didn't get a free school bus for my children then it wouldn't make as much sense for me to work and I might have to leave my job. Paying for a taxi isn't feasible for me, I only earn just over the minimum wage.
I work and pay my taxes, if I didn't get a free school bus for my children then it wouldn't make as much sense for me to work and I might have to leave my job. Paying for a taxi isn't feasible for me, I only earn just over the minimum wage. yarnton_mum

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