Decision due on Cumbria home school transport

A decision will be made next week over proposals for a shake-up of home-to-school transport in Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council said spending pressures had forced it to look at discretionary support provided to up to 6,500 students.

Proposals include scrapping assistance for 16-19 travel for students starting after September but also setting up a hardship fund.

It said statutory free transport for about 10,000 students was not affected.

A public consultation into the proposals has been carried out and the responses and planned changes will be discussed by the council's cabinet on 28 April.

'Budgetary considerations'

The proposals include discontinuing grants for nursery travel from September as well as support for denominational travel and replacing it with an annual charge of £350.

Others are to discontinue assistance towards 16-19 travel and bring in an annual charge of £350 for students starting their studies after September.

Students already in sixth forms and colleges would continue to be supported until the end of their courses.

A hardship fund would also be set up to ensure students from low-income families would not be stopped from going on to 16-19 education.

Cumbria chief executive Jill Stannard said: "Access to quality education is a priority for us in Cumbria which is why members are so keen to ensure through the hardship fund that no child or young person from a low income household is prevented from accessing education.

"As many of the consultation responses proved, the public do understand that while there are concerns we must balance those with wider budgetary considerations."

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