Councils set for £40m school transport boost


Councils across England will share a multi-million funding pot to help pupils travel to school safely from September, the government has announced.

The Department for Education set aside £40 million of funding so that councils can overcome any issues with overcrowding on transport to and from school.

Ministers believe the funding should help to “ease pressure on public transport” as additional vehicle hire will increase capacity and allow social distancing measures to remain in place.

The Education Policy Institute had previously warned that it would be difficult to stop pupils from different social bubbles from mixing on transport.

It is hoped that enhancing capacity will alleviate some of the concerns raised by schools, helping a greater number of pupils to return to school in September safely.

Urging pupils and staff to do what they can

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has asked pupils and school staff to plan how they intend to travel, with walking and cycling encouraged where possible.

“For those that have no option than public transport, this investment for local authorities will mean more students will be able to travel on dedicated home to school and college transport, creating more capacity when it is needed most,” he explained.

He has urged everyone to play their part in ensuring that all individuals can travel safely to school.

Funding allocations

Funding will be allocated depending on the number of children in a particular council area and on the distances they are required to travel.

Councils have been told they can spend the additional finance on transport itself, or on and staffing costs if pupils need to be supervised on their way to different elements of education provision.

Further government guidance on school transport, developed in partnership with Public Health England, is set to be released in due course.