Schools: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Treasury on providing support for low-income families in (a) England and (b) Coventry who incur additional extra travel costs due to their children not being allocated a place at one of their top three choices of school.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Local authorities have a statutory duty under section 508B of the Education Act 1996 to make travel arrangements to enable all eligible children of compulsory school age to attend their nearest suitable school. Suitable in this context means the nearest school, with places available, that provides education appropriate to the age and ability of the child.

There are additional rights to free home to school transport for children who are entitled to Free School Meals or whose parents are in receipt of the maximum Working Tax Credit. This is known as Extended Rights.

For these pupils, local authorities have a statutory duty to provide free transport where the nearest suitable school is:

  • Beyond two miles (if over age eight, but below age 11); or
  • Beyond two miles but less than six miles (age 11 or over) and there are not more than three suitable nearer schools); or
  • Beyond two miles but under 15 miles (age 11 or over) where attending the nearest suitable school on the grounds of religion or belief.

On 26 January 2018, the Department announced a total amount of £19,023,900 in local authorities’ revenue allocations, for the financial year 2018-19, to support them in their duties under Extended Rights. Coventry City Council was allocated £48,400.

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