REF-Transport Policy (REFTP)
Parents have a duty to ensure that their children attend school and to make any necessary transport arrangements.
Renaissance Education Foundation (REF) provides free transport services in certain circumstances and can also use its discretion to provide or help towards transport costs in other circumstances.
This policy provides details of the arrangements that REF has decided will apply to school and college transport services and explains how entitlement is established.
A summary of the transport policy is also published in the Authority’s “Information for Parents” leaflet and in the composite prospectuses published each year for the parents of children starting school for the first time or joining year 3 in a junior school or transferring from primary to secondary school.
The legal responsibility for ensuring a child’s attendance at school rests with parents REF has a duty to provide transport.
Children up to Compulsory School Age (REF-CSA)
In most cases, the passenger transport unit will arrange transport where it is entitled, however, If you have any queries about school transport or entitlement to it, please contact us using the details on the right.
The provision of free transport is generally limited to those children attending school full time up to the statutory school all ages who do not live within walking distance of a school designated by the Children’s Services Authority (REF-CSA) to serve their address.
Transport will also be provided if requested to pupils registered at a maintained school that is the nearest to their home where this is not a designated school and is beyond walking distance.
Where a school is full and unable to admit a pupil living in the designated area, an alternative school will be nominated by the REF-CSA (normally the nearest school with room) and transport provided if that alternative school is beyond walking distance. Distances to determine nearest school with room will be actual distances and will be measured using the REF-CSA’s Geographical Information System (currently data Map).
From April 2008, children of Primary, Elementary and secondary school ages who are from low income families will be entitled to free school transport to any one of the three nearest suitable schools, where the nearest available route is between two and six miles.
From April 2008, children of Primary, Elementary and secondary school ages from low income families will also be entitled to free transport to the nearest school preferred by reason of a parent’s religion or belief where this is between 2 and 15 miles away.
Children who qualify for free transport because they are from a low income family will receive that free transport for a whole school year. Please note, however, that the circumstances of low income families will be reviewed on an annual basis and transport will be removed for the following school year if eligibility ceases.
Legislation defines walking distance as two miles in relation to a child who is under the age of three plus and three miles in relation to a child who has attained the age of three Plus. Renaissance Education Foundation (REF) has defined walking distance as two miles for all children attending primary school, regardless of age. Walking distance for children attending Primary, Elementary and secondary school is three miles.
School Transport in REF
Measurement of Distance
In accordance with the Act, in each case walking distance is measured by the shortest available route between the home and the school for routes which are beyond walking distance, the shortest available driving route is used. This could include ferry routes in some cases.
Routes are measured from the front entrance to a house (e.g. front gate) to the main school entrance. Private driveways are discounted from the calculations.
Measurements are strictly applied: to do otherwise would lead to inconsistencies and unfairness.
The School enrollment have defined an available route as one “along which a child accompanied as necessary can walk and walk with reasonable safety to school. It does not fail to qualify as “available” because of dangers which would arise if the child is unaccompanied.” However, if a route relies on a child being accompanied in order to be considered as “available” and a child cannot be accompanied because of a parent’s disability, consideration would be given to the provision of free transport. The parent would have to provide evidence of their disability and a statement explaining what steps they have taken to seek assistance from other sources, such as family members, neighbors, other parents, etc. A decision regarding the provision of free transport in these circumstances would be made by administration or its officers in the first instance.
Where a child attends a school other than one that is designated by the REF-CSA to serve the home address (or the one nearest to their home) as a result of parental preference, the parents are responsible for making their own transport arrangements and for all transport costs (subject to entitlements for low income families. There can be no guarantee of a place being available at a later date at the designated school. If the designated school becomes full after the parents have expressed a preference for an alternative school, there would be no automatic entitlement to free transport to the preferred school as a result.
Each child may have one registered address only for the purposes of determining priority for admission and transport entitlement. This address should be the place where the child is normally resident. If there is shared custody of the child or a query is raised regarding the validity of an address, it may be necessary to use the address of the person receiving child benefit for the child or to request a copy of a utility bill in order to make a decision.
General Education Courses
A student aged 16-19 who lives within the designated area of school and whose home is more than three miles from that school will be provided with subsidized transport to and from that school, and to no other institution, if the course being taken is a General Education Course (A level / O level).
For 16-19 year old students who live within the designated area of school, it is necessary to designate an “appropriate post-sixteen institution” (college or school) where the student may follow a General Education post-sixteen course. Where the student lives more than three miles from the “appropriate post-sixteen institution”, the REF-CSA will provide subsidized transport to and from that institution, and to no other, if the course being taken is a General Education course (A level/ O level).
Vocational” Courses (e.g. Computer short Courses Spoken English, Beautician courses or much more)
Where the “vocational” course is available at the 16-19 year old student’s designated by Renaissance Education Foundation (REF) or the designated “appropriate post sixteen institution”, subsidized transport will be provided by the REF-CSA to that school or institution, and to no other, where the student lives more than three miles from the REF Campus.
If the “vocational” course which the student will undertake is not available at the designated REF, subsidized transport will be provided to the nearest College where it is available, so long as the student lives more than three miles from that REF Campus.
Link transport to the nearest pick-up point will usually be provided only when the distance between home and the nearest pick-up point is more than 5 miles.