Parents face annual £1,000 bill to get children to school

Education.
Education.

Parents of youngsters heading to secondary school this September are facing an annual bill of £1,000 to get them there.

Bovingdon Baptist Church minister Reverend Mary Moddy, is a governor of Bovingdon Primary Academy and one of the 11 affected parents whose daughter, Hannah, starts at Ashlyns School later this year.

She said: “There is no safe walking or cycling route to Ashlyns – an eight-mile round trip – but we have been told it may be possible to purchase seats in county council taxi transport, if available, at a cost of, at least, £1,000 a year.

“Bovingdon is one of Ashlyns’ feeder schools so parents are not by-passing a nearby secondary school in order to go to a ‘better’ school of their choosing.”

But a spokesman for Herts County Council said that Ashlyns is not the nearest school for Bovingdon teenagers – The Cavendish and Kings Langley schools are closer, he said.

“We are sorry to hear that some parents are not happy with the outcome of the process for determining those families who are legally entitled to free home-to-school transport,” he said. “ However, the rules governing this process are open, fair and published on our website.

“Among those eligible are children attending their nearest suitable school where the distance is over the statutory walking distance – three miles for children over the age of eight – from the child’s home address.

“However, in the case of Rev Moody, while her home address is more than the statutory walking distance away from Ashlyns, this is not the nearest school.

“We appreciate that this can be frustrating for parents, but always encourage them to consider their nearest school before making their choices. To assist with this, our website includes a dedicated software package which can determine their nearest school based on our criteria for admissions and for transport.”