PARENTS in Stoke Prior feel their children’s ‘needs are not being met’ after changes to home to school transport laws.

The Home to School Transport scheme allows children with special educational needs and disabilities to travel to school on provided transport, with left over vacant seats offered to parents.

However due to new government guidelines, Worcestershire County Council can only ‘sell’ 20 per cent of vacant seats.

This has left parents like Sally Laver, who anticipated their child would use Home to School Transport, with a problem getting to school.

“There is a 58-seater bus that comes into the village only half full,” said Sally.

“The coach is the safest way to get to school but also means the kids have some independence as well.

“There is more traffic on the road and air pollution due to more parents driving their kids to school.”

Mrs Laver, along with Jolene Patrick and her husband attended a children and family panel meeting at Worcestershire County Council to get a better understanding of the situation.

However, they feel no more assistance has been provided to them.

Mrs Patrick and her husband Alex are NHS workers and have shifted their working patterns to accommodate school pick up times.

Jolene said her son Harry’s needs are not being met and ‘is not safe to expect them to walk to school’ due to busy main roads.

Jolene and Sally are in the catchment area for Aston Fields Middle School and St Johns Middle Academy and believed choosing Aston Fields, which is 0.2 miles further from their homes than St Johns, would not have impacted on their eligibility for provided transport.

However, the two mums were told they were not eligible as they had chose the school that was furthest away from their homes.

Cllr Marcus Hart, cabinet member for education, said an ‘increased take up of home to school transport’ and ‘changes in legislation’ has led to decreased number of available vacant seats.

“Unfortunately, we are also reliant on the service operators and can only offer seats to meet increased demand subject to availability from the operators,” said Cllr Hart.


“However, policy on joint catchment areas remains the same as previous years. Parents are advised when applying to check their eligibility with the post code checker on our website and are provided with a link to our Transport and Travel Policy.

“I appreciate the logistical issues that this will cause for parents and families, and we will do all we can to assist where possible.”