Agenda item

Notice of Motion Proposed by Councillor Alex Williams

That this Council:


Requests that Cabinet conducts a review of BCBC’s School Admission Policy and Arrangements 2020/2021; and Learner Travel Policy 2016 and:


  1. Notes that Bridgend County Borough Council’s (BCBC’s) Home-to-School Transport Policy allows parents to choose either English-medium, Welsh-medium or a faith-based education for their child.
  2. Notes the report to Cabinet of 23rd July 2019 at paragraph 4.35 which states that: “For pupils wishing to benefit from Welsh-medium education, free home-to-school transport would apply to the nearest Welsh-medium school within Bridgend County Borough.”
  3. Notes that the report on Home-to-School Transport to Scrutiny & Overview Committee 2 on 5th February 2020 fails to mention that home-to-school transport would only apply to the nearest Welsh-medium school within Bridgend County Borough.
  4. Notes that this policy was not properly implemented in September 2020 and that pupils were wrongly awarded BCBC-funded, free home-to-school transport, and that this error was only identified in October 2021.
  5. Notes that free home-to-school transport is available to learners living in BCBC who wish to attend a Welsh-medium secondary school (YGG Llangynwyd) but regrets the erroneous miscommunication to parents and carers on 13th June 2022 which led parents, carers and the Headteachers of both Ysgol Gynradd Dolau and Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari to believe that learners were eligible for home-to-school transport, before unexpectedly discovering that they would not be in receipt of home-to-school transport in late August, a week before children were to start secondary school and had already attended Year 6/Year 7 transition activities with parents/carers also having purchased uniforms.
  6. Regrets that BCBC did not feel that it was necessary to communicate the administrative error which was identified in October 2021 to Ysgol Gynradd Dolau; Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari and parents/carers so that they could plan for the impact which the removal of home-to-school transport would have on children’s education upon transition in September 2022.
  7. Welcomes the fact that learners who have already transitioned from Ysgol Gynradd Dolau to Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari prior to the policy change will continue to receive BCBC-funded, free home-to-school transport from BCBC to Ysgol Llanhari until they complete their secondary school education as home-to-school transport provision had already been provided and, as a consequence, BCBC could not justify the removal of the provision.
  8. Notes that the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 makes provision about promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language and treating the Welsh language no less favourably than the English language; notes that the current Welsh Government “Learner Travel: statutory provision and operational guidance (2014)” identifies that local authorities must promote access to Welsh-medium education; and that this legislation does not preclude out-of-county home to school transport.
  9. Welcomes the long-term ambition to incentivise in-county Welsh language education but regrets the practical effect of BCBC’s School Admission & Learner Travel Policies which, in combination, have resulted (in some cases) in the parental choice to remove their children from Welsh language education due to the lack of communication and the negative emotional impact of this upheaval of splitting up friendship groups and siblings.
  10. Notes that Home-to-School Transport is still available from the English medium Abercedin Primary School in Evanstown to Tonyrefail Community School as part of the existing BCBC School Admission Policy (and associated arrangements), which is in contravention to the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 in that it actively discriminates against the Welsh language in disallowing pupils from BCBC who were accessing primary education at Ysgol Gynradd Dolau or Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail to access similar out-of-county Home-to-School Transport to Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari when they transitioned from primary to secondary education.
  11. Urges BCBC to work collaboratively with RCTCBC to engage early and communicate to all of those parents and carers of learners currently at Ysgol Gynradd Dolau who reside in BCBC that they will NOT be eligible for home to school transport to Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari when they transition from primary to secondary education so that they can make considered choices for their children’s future education.
  12. Notes that other local authorities currently offer some ‘paying places’ on its home-to-school transport vehicles and calls on BCBC to ensure that all future contract tenders for school transport operators require Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) compliance to allow for ‘paid for’ places on school transport.




Councillor Williams put forward an amendment to his original Notice of Motion, as outlined at Item 18. on today’s meeting Agenda, following some constructive consultation and collaboration with the Cabinet Member - Education. This amendment resulted in replacing the original motion with that proposed as follows:-


‘That this Council:


Confirms that the Cabinet will review Bridgend County Borough Council’s School Admission Policy and Arrangements and Learner Travel Policy and that Cabinet acknowledges all of the points raised by him contained within the original motion which would all be considered as part of the review. ‘


As part of his remarks, Councillor Williams stated that he looked forward to receiving correspondence from the Cabinet on the timetable for the review, so that both policies could be scrutinised through the Overview and Scrutiny process, in due course.


By way of assent, members of Council supported the amended Notice of Motion as submitted by Councillor Williams.