Parents can claim 45p a mile to drive their kids to school in Northamptonshire to avoid bursting 'bubbles' on the buses

County Council responds to transport fears as all students head back into education for first time since March

Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 2:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 3:41 pm

Parents of students heading back to education this week could be paid petrol money to drive their kids to school.

County council chiefs have responded to concerns about children from different year groups being kept apart at school but then mixing outside their own 'bubbles' on free school buses.

Government advice is to walk, cycle or scoot to school as the new term gets under way this week with all children back in school for the first time since March.

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But those living more than three miles away who usually travel on transport provided by the County Council have the option of being drive to school with parents able to claim 45p a mile for the trips.

Cllr Jason Smithers, County Council cabinet member for Highways and Place, said: “In order to effectively manage the risks that remain, things will be a bit different when children and young people return to school and college for the new academic year.

“We have been continuously working in partnership with our schools to ensure safe transport is put in place for September and that any measures are co-ordinated with those being implemented by the school.

"This will help minimise the risk of transmission and will provide some level of consistency for children which is very important at this time.

Councillor Jason Smithers announced the County Council's plans for school transport

“We are committed to ensuring that all students can safely return to school and we want to make sure transport is not a barrier to people accessing the education they deserve.”

The Government's national guidance encourages students to walk, cycle or scoot to school if they can and if they live up to three miles away. to help to reduce pressure on public transport for those who need it most.

For those who have no alternative but to use public transport, they should plan ahead and allow more time for journeys as capacity on buses is reduced.

Northamptonshire's school buses will continue to operate with minimum distancing of one metre between year group 'bubbles'. For other vehicles, including taxis and small minibuses, students will form a 'transport bubble' riding with the same schoolmates from the same school every day.

But officials at Angel Square have decided that where parents or guardians prefer to transport their children themselves, the alternative option of a mileage allowance will be available at the standard HMRC rate of 45 pence per mile for the first 10,000 miles.