School transport during coronavirus
The safest way to travel to and from school during coronavirus is by walking, cycling, or using a private vehicle with members of the same household or support bubble. However, these options are not possible for many families, and the following information applies to other school transport options for the autumn term.
This information will be updated if government guidance changes. You can find the latest government guidance on home to school transport in the autumn term here.
- Face coverings are mandatory on public transport for anyone aged 11 or over.
- Although it isn't mandatory, we are also asking students aged 11 or over to wear face coverings on pupil-only school buses.
- The wearing of face coverings by SEND pupils using transport services is at the discretion of parents, depending on the individual circumstances and preferences of the child.
- Social distancing on public buses is a national government requirement. This means that public buses that are open to the general public will have reduced capacity. Parents need to be aware that their children will not be able to board public buses which are at capacity. We are working with bus operators to support additional capacity where possible.
- Pupils on dedicated school services do not mix with the general public on those journeys and they usually travel with the same people each time. For this reason, the government’s advice is that social distancing is not required. Instead, the government guidance is that dedicated school only transport should consider other safety measures, including sitting in school social bubbles or with the same group of children on every journey.
Supporting alternative transport during coronavirus – mileage offer
- To support parents and carers of SEND students and students who are eligible for free transport that travel to school by public bus, the Council is able to provide a per-mile travel allowance if you would prefer to arrange your own transport during coronavirus. This is at the rate of 45p per mile, and covers 4 ways each day (i.e. two return trips to school).
- If your child is in one of these two categories and you wish to claim a mileage payment from the Council, please contact us using our contact us form or by phone on 01296 387439. Otherwise your usual home to school transport arrangements will recommence in the new term.
Additional public transport bus provision
With the support of government funding, we have worked with public transport bus companies in Buckinghamshire to put on extensive additional bus services to help alleviate the reduced seating capacity resulting from the social distancing measures in force on all public buses. This has involved the deployment of 30 extra vehicles on busy routes, and the conversion of 40 return bus journeys each day into pupil-only services to help ensure that all children who need to use public buses can get a seat.
Council-run school buses
To ensure that Council-run school bus services could run as normal this autumn, we proactively provided substantial grants to support our contracted bus companies through the difficult financial circumstances caused by the lockdown.
We are providing extra buses on some Council-run school bus routes to support social distancing and to reduce the amount of mixing between pupils from different schools. This is possible due to additional government funding provided to the Council which lasts until the autumn half-term. Details are on our update page.
Safety on Council-run transport
We work closely with our transport suppliers to ensure that they understand and follow the specific guidance for transport operators issued by the Department for Transport and Public Health England.
All our transport suppliers must carry out a risk assessment and ensure that they have arrangements in place for regular and thorough clearing of vehicles after each school run, and that suitable measures such as face coverings and/or screens are considered.
We are also asking parents to support safety measures by ensuring that their child:
- washes or sanitises their hands before and after their journey.
- follows seating arrangements so that the bus is filled from the back to the front in the mornings and, on the return journey from school, each student returns to the same seat that they used in the morning. Where students are travelling on a Council-provided school bus with students from more than one school, students are requested to sit with their school and follow any additional instructions provided by the school on seating to support school bubbles.
- does not leave rubbish on school transport.
- wears a face covering and stores this in a bag upon arrival at school.
All the aspects of school travel in Buckinghamshire during coronavirus are covered well in this animation created for Warwickshire.