The Government is increasing the age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training, requiring them to continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17 from 2013 and until their 18th birthday from 2015.
Young people currently in Year 11 and below are affected.
Raising the participation age (RPA) does not mean young people must stay in school; they will able to choose one of the following options post-16:
- full-time education, such as school, college or home education
- an apprenticeship
- part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering full-time (which is defined as 20 hours or more a week).
The current post 16 discretionary policy applied by the County Council offers transport for those who meet the criteria of the policy and attend 6th Form or further education. A contribution towards this transport is required and there are no concessions. The current cost of Post 16 transport is £160 per term, this is equivalent to £2.50 per day for a return journey and represents around 60% of the cost to the council of a seat on public transport.
There is no entitlement to home to school transport from the age of 16 and the government have not provided any further funding to support transport for those who reach this age. However they have introduced the 16-19 Bursary Fund to provide up to £1,200 bursaries for young people who need the most help. Schools and colleges will also have funding which they can use to provide extra bursaries to anyone they think needs the support to continue their education – for example, those who need help with travel costs. Talk to your local schools and colleges to find out if you might be eligible. You can also find out more about the 16-19 Bursary Fund here: www.gov.uk/1619-bursary-fund.
Suffolk County Council does not provide free transport for any pupils who are over compulsory school age however, a subsidised transport scheme is operated for post 16 college or school sixth form students. Students who are offered transport assistance will be required to make a payment toward the cost of that transport each term in advance. This represents a contribution toward the cost – the county council and its partners will meet the balance.
Transport assistance will be available to those students who:
- are over compulsory school age but under 19 years (also to those who are completing a course started prior to their 19th birthday);
- undertake an approved full-time course of further education study (a full time course is one which involves a minimum of 450 guided study hours per year, approximately 12 guided hours per week, as confirmed by the providing school or college). The term “school” refers to a school maintained by a local education authority or a foundation school funded from public resources.The policy of travel assistance for sixth form students does not extend to independent schools; and
- are normally resident in Suffolk.
Students must live in Suffolk (and pay their council tax to a district or borough council in Suffolk) and live at least three miles away from the school or college to be attended. Distances are measured by the shortest available walking route in accordance with the arrangements set out in the Education Act applicable to children of compulsory school age.
Pay for your bus pass (external).
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can apply for post-16 transport?
Post-16 Transport assistance will be available to those students who:
· are beyond year 11 but under 19 years (or are completing a course started prior to their 19th birthday);
· undertake an approved full-time course of further education study (a full time course is one which involves a minimum of 450 guided study hours per year, approximately 12 guided hours per week, as confirmed by the providing school or college). The term “school” refers to a school maintained by a local education authority or a foundation school funded from public resources. The policy of travel assistance for sixth form students does not extend to independent schools;
· are resident in Suffolk (this means their household pays their council tax to a district or borough council in Suffolk);
· live at least three miles away from the school or college to be attended; and
· for whom the door-to-door journey time from home to the school/college/sixth form centre does not exceed 75 minutes using the nearest public transport service.
Applying for discretionary travel
You can apply for discretionary travel by visiting www.suffolkonboard and clicking on the link ’Discretionary Travel - Post 16 students’. Full terms and conditions and Suffolk County Council’s Post-16 policy in full are available on this website.
If you don’t have access to the web you can request a paper application form by contacting Customer Service Direct on 0845 606 6173.
You should make your application by the closing date of 24th May 2013.
How likely is it that my child will get a discretionary pass?
Post-16 discretionary transport can only be offered where there is a public service route or contract bus in operation that links with your home to school/college and if you fulfil the post-16 policy criteria as summarised above.
Submitting an application does not guarantee a place on a vehicle.
When will I know if my child has a place?
Applications for post-16 discretionary transport starting in the new academic year will be assessed from July onwards. We will write to you to let you know the outcome of your application with details of the costs and how to pay if your application is successful.
Every effort will be made to process your application as soon as we can. However, we cannot guarantee a response by the start of the academic year, so please ensure you have alternative transport arrangements in place.
For more information on Suffolk County Council home-to-school transport policies and the services provided call 0845 606 6173.