Students railroaded?

STUDENTS attending Backwell School could be forced to hop on the train to get to class as part of proposed cuts to the district's home to school transport service. North Somerset Council is considering stopping the coaches that take 185 students from Yat

STUDENTS attending Backwell School could be forced to hop on the train to get to class as part of proposed cuts to the district's home to school transport service.North Somerset Council is considering stopping the coaches that take 185 students from Yatton to Backwell School and giving pupils rail passes instead.The current cost of providing coaches to take the students to class is £87,000 a year and a move to provide rail passes instead would reduce costs by £37,457.Students, some as young as 11, would then have to walk 0.4 miles along narrow and busy Station Road to the school.In a report to councillors it says: "The current pick up point for pupils being transported by coach is Yatton Railway Station. As a consequence, pupils would not be expected to walk any further than they currently do to access transport."The review of the authority's home to school transport service is being presented by executive member for special projects, Councillor Peter Bryant.The annual cost of the service is £3.56million and council officers are hoping the review will help save them £175,047 next financial year.The council currently provides transport for 3,000 students across the district, 301 of which are youngsters with special needs. A further 289 pupils are provided with denominational transport to faith schools. The authority also provides school crossing patrols at 50 different sites across the district.As part of the review, cost cutters are also looking at reducing the number of children entitled to school transport by improving walking and cycling routes.They also plan to renegotiate routes and where in some places two trips home are provided, reduce them to just one.Savings are also likely to be made by tendering out the taxi services used by special needs schools and by scrutinising the provision of transport for students wishing to attend faith schools.Some schools will also be asked to manage their own school transport and be provided with a leased minibus and running costs by the authority.The report was due to be discussed at a meeting of the council executive on Tuesday.


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