HC Deb 08 May 1952 vol 500 cc65-7W
106. Colonel J. H. Harrison

asked the Minister of Education whether she is aware of the action of the East Suffolk County Council who are compelling 90 children from Aldeburgh to proceed to their school at Leiston by cycle instead of by train; and if she will consider advising the use of a bus instead.

Miss Horsbrugh

I am aware of the authority's action and consider it justified. Senior children in this county have for many years been provided with bicycles for short journeys of this length to school, and I understand that other forms of transport would be much more expensive. Only senior children who are medically fitare expected to cycle, and waterproof clothing is provided.

108. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the Minister of Education whether she will relax her regulations on school transport to enable children living within the distance limits to be conveyed in school transport where seats are available.

Miss Horsbrugh

This is a matter for decision by the local education authority. If an authority decided to adopt such a practice, I should welcome it provided that no additional public expenditure was involved.

112. Dr. King

asked the Minister of Education whether she will make a statement on the recent modification of Government policy in its attitude to the transport to school of infant and junior children, for distances under the statutory distance.

Miss Horsbrugh

I have nothing to add to the advice which I gave to local education authorities in December last. I then stated in Circular 242 that in the present financial circumstances I did not regard it as normally justifiable that children should be conveyed to school free over distances less than those laid down in the Education Act, 1944, though I was prepared to consider other arrangements to meet any exceptional difficulty.

113. Mr. Philips

Price asked the Minister of Education whether she is aware that transport for school children is being wi'hdrawn in the Drybrook, Ruardean Woodside and Pludds districts of the Forest of Dean and that consequently children are having to walk as, long as three miles to school and in some cases over steep hillsides and across streams without bridges; that the county education committee have been pressed to make this economy by her department; and whether she will look into the matter and give instructions that the transport may be restored.

Miss Horsbrugh

I have advised local education authorities that I do not consider it normally justifiable in present circumstances that children should be transported to school free over distances less than the three miles for children over eight and two miles for younger children prescribed by the Education Act, 1944, but that I am ready to consider any exceptional cases. I understand that the Gloucestershire Authority will be considering protests which have been made by parents against the withdrawal of school 'buses in these cases, and it would not be appropriate for me to anticipate their conclusions