County council and parents continue to work on finding solution to spare seat issue at school near Banbury

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Oxfordshire County Council says it is continuing to work with parents to find solutions for the partial withdrawal of the spare seats transport scheme for Bloxham’s The Warriner School.

The council says it has made ‘significant progress’ working alongside parents, schools, and bus and coach providers in finding a solution to the problematic issue.

Transport options have been made available to 150 pupils elsewhere in the county, but the council is still working to secure transport for The Warriner pupils affected.

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The Warriner SchoolThe Warriner School
The Warriner School

Following a meeting with the school and parents in early May, Oxfordshire County Council says it is exploring various options, including giving a local bus operator a closed-contract service direct to families of The Warriner pupils.

At its meeting on May 23, the council’s cabinet will hear about the plans in place to mitigate earlier proposed changes to the spare seat scheme, which would affect 235 pupils overall.

Cllr Liz Brighouse, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for children, education, and youth services, said: "We are extremely grateful to the parents at all six schools, who have worked hard with us to make significant progress in providing spare seat solutions.

"The council is committed to working with parents, schools, and bus companies to explore ongoing and practical options for spare seats on school transport. There’s more to do, and we look forward to further progress. I thank parents for all their help and support."

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However, campaigners from the Save Our Bus Seats group still don’t think enough is being done to secure school transport for the pupil from The Warriner and that more pupils will be left without school transport in the future.

Clara Dawes from Save Our Bus Seats said: "Cllr Brighouse has no grasp on the facts, and consequently, her statement is largely a fiction, issued without consultation with her cabinet colleagues or the members of the transport team actually working with parents. It's these bus routes this year, but another set of villages will have their buses axed in 2024.

"Parents being on the working group set up by the Oxfordshire County Council transport staff hasn’t been great and has only been a rush for their Cabinet meeting on May 23, with still no solutions yet for Warriner or the Marlborough."