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Cawston School Bus Service

Lead petitioner : Amanda Shulah Cameron-Heffer

Status: New > Draft > Rejected > Accepted > Collecting signatures > Awaiting submission > Submitted > Pending owner response > Closed > Withdrawn

Status: Closed

Petition

Norfolk County Council should continue to provide free bus travel to the catchment school (Reepham High School) for all children living in Cawston.

Background information

All children living in Cawston are currently provided with free bus passes for the bus to Reepham High School.

The Council has now included Marriott's Way in its measurements when determining which pupils live far enough from the school to qualify for free transportation. Most children leave from one bus stop in the village centre. Despite this, some parents in Cawston will now be charged at least £260 per child per year for the bus service, while others continue to receive free transport.

The designated route to school would force children as young as 11 years old to walk/cycle for an hour each way to and from school along an unlit and isolated footpath unless their parents are able to take them by car. The County Council does not guarantee spaces will be available on the bus.

The Head Teacher at Reepham High School said 'The County Council has a legal responsibility for the safeguarding of their pupils. If they are forcing children to walk three miles down a muddy, unlit track they are failing in that statutory duty' (EDP 13th June 2011).

The County Council says that parents should arrange to accompany their children if they are concerned about safety - this could mean walking 12 miles every day. This would be impracticable for any working parent, or for those with children attending Cawston Primary School.

Signature Count

138

Dialogue

The Council says:
The distances between homes in Cawston and Reepham High have been rigorously measured using our electronic GIS system, which has proven to be 100% accurate when verified by a manual measuring wheel. The route to school, using Marriot’s Way, has been assessed using the County Council’s criteria for home to school route assessments, based on the Local Road Safety Officers Association guidelines, in common with how all other school routes in Norfolk are assessed and in line with the County Council’s home to school transport policy, recently agreed by Members of the Council (relevant part of policy and criteria attached). The County Council has agreed to continue to run the transport from September 2011 and to offer seats on the existing school buses on payment of a parental contribution, as part of the Council’s discretionary travel scheme. Retaining this spare capacity in the school bus network for a period of time is a concession over and above what the County Council would normally do for children not entitled to free school transport, but it was felt important to give families time to readjust to the change in circumstances. To ensure that the County Council’s policy is applied fairly to all residents and children of Norfolk we do not propose to change our decision regarding the Cawston to Reepham High school route.