Pupils living in most of Westerleigh will no longer be offered free school transport to Pucklechurch from September 2013.
Except for those whose homes are closer to Pucklechurch school than Wellesley, existing pupils will have to pay a concessionary fare of £120 per term (£360 per year). New pupils will be able to travel for the same fee if there is space but there is no guarantee a service will be provided once the existing pupils move on. Families on low incomes will not have to pay.
By law primary age children are entitled to free transport to their nearest school if there is no safe walking route. Since the village school closed, the council has provided free transport to Pucklechurch, even for pupils who live closer to the Yate school, but officers said this was unfair to others not offered similar special arrangements. The Children and Young People committee agreed.
Speaking in support of the service at the committee meeting last week, Claire Young raised wider concerns that rural children may be disadvantaged by the admissions and transport policies. Officers will look at this when they consult on the admissions policy later in the year.