Denbighshire County Council’s revised school transport policy has been approved by the Cabinet.
The current Home to School Transport Policy came into force from September 2015, after agreement by Council in 2014 with a review of the policy planned after 12 months of operation.
Today (Tuesday), at the Cabinet meeting at County Hall, Ruthin councillors were updated on feedback to the recent consultation on the revised policy, now known as Denbighshire’s Learner Transport Policy.
Over 13,000 letters were sent to families, as well as schools, councillors, AMs, MPs, colleges and governing bodies, as well as consultation with 73 students representing Denbighshire’s secondary schools.
79 responses were received to the consultation, with the majority supportive of the draft policy. The issue of Welsh school categorisation was raised, particularly in reference to Ysgol Bro Cinmeirch, with some concerns that pupils may move to Ysgol Pant Pastynog, to be eligible for free school transport to Ysgol Glan Clwyd.
Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Denbighshire’s Cabinet Lead Member for Education, Children and Young People, said: “Councillors recognised that there were pockets of concern regarding certain elements of the current policy and we have addressed these concerns as and when they have arisen. This triggered the need to look at the way we executed policy and question if it was fair, flexible and meet the needs of the children and families.
“We agreed when we implemented the policy that it would be reviewed after one year of operating. That review has now taken place and has taken into consideration feedback from schools, parents, councillors and advice through legal discussions.
“The new policy clarifies the Council’s position with regards to pick-up points and hazardous routes, with a previously separate guidance note being incorporated into the latest policy. This is a more flexible and far policy which give a clear appeals process. As with the current policy, the Council would continue to provide free transport to the nearest suitable Welsh language or Faith school, if this was the parental / carers preference.
“We are extremely grateful to people for getting involved in the consultation and this is a demonstration of councillors listening to residents and making the changes for the benefit of our children."