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Applications for ‘privilege seats’ on school buses for 2020/21

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A two-week window for applications for ‘privilege seats’ on school buses for the 2020/21 academic year has today (Monday 3 August) been opened by the Isle of Wight Council. 

Parents and guardians of children not eligible for free school transport can apply for a privilege seat from 9am today and through to 12 noon on Friday 14 August.

For details on how to apply, visit: https://www.iow.gov.uk/Residents/Schools-and-Learning/School-Transport/Privilege-Seat-on-School-Transport

Privilege seats are spare seats sold to parents who choose to send their child to a school outside their catchment area.

Applications must be during the online application window; seats will be allocated after the closing date. The process will select successful applicants randomly.

A privilege seat costs £390 — the equivalent of around £2 a day over the academic year — which can be paid in termly or half termly instalments.

Parents are being reminded there will be fewer privilege seats available on school buses from this September.

This was announced by the council in April and is due to the procurement of a new home-to-school transport contract.

The contractual changes were agreed by Full Council in February as part of its overall budget measures to continue to deliver all essential services to residents.

The previous contract had an excess of unused seats for which the council was paying, with each costing around an additional £1,000 a year.

Cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Paul Brading, said: “We would strongly encourage parents and guardians to get their applications in as soon as possible during the available window. With a new contract now in place, there is limited availability of privilege seats.

“We will continue to explore alternatives to see how children not able to access a privilege seat may be helped.”

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