Dorset parents out of pocket getting their children to college

Dorset parents out of pocket getting their children to college

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:47am 4th October 2019.

A Dorset father has launched a petition to give free travel school travel to young people up to the age of 18.

Jon Majeika is from Evershot.

His daughter has to travel to college on the bus.

He says his family is paying over £1,000 this year, just to get her there.

"Unless you're going to work in an apprenticeship and earn some money, you have to stay at school or in education.

However, they don't then provide the school transport.

"Now, if they can justify school transport for 4 to 16 year olds, surely that justification carries forward until they are actually allowed to leave full-time education at 18?"

woman waiting with bus

Its now compulsory for youngsters to stay in education, employment or training until they're 18.

But free school transport stops at the age 16.

Jon has now launched a petition to increase school transport funding to local authorities for young people age 16-18.

He's hoping to get the issue before parliament.

westminster palace
Westminster Palace

Jon said: 

"It seems almost as if the Secretary for Education needs to go and have a chat with the Secretary for Transport in the government and say 'Look, we've made this decision, we now need to cover the transport as well'

"To me, it's almost a no-brainer."

The government is currently consulting on revisions to guidance for local authorities on home to school travel and transport for children of compulsory school age.

However, the consultation states:

"The policy for transport to post-16 education and training is different from that of children of compulsory school age, and as such is not included within this consultation."

Photo of Dorset County Hall night sign
County Hall

A Government spokesperson has put the emphasis back on the local authority.

"Young people should not be prevented from taking up vital opportunities due to travel costs, and local authorities have powers to offer free or discounted travel to young people.
"We have also launched the 16-17 Saver, enabling 16 to 17-year-olds to save 50% on rail journeys to work, or school or for their apprenticeship."

contactless bus

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council's portfolio holder for  Highways, travel and environment said:

"When the Government raised the age of compulsory education, training or employment with training there was not an equivalent change in the national transport policy to supply travel for students to apprenticeships, colleges or sixth form. 

"We are very keen to work with all education providers to make sure the information that they give to potential students is explaining all the options they can take."