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Schools and school transport

In line with the latest Government guidance, Bedford Borough schools have begun planning to fully re-open in September. Parents and carers are advised to check with their child’s school regarding their re-opening arrangements

The Department for Education is running a helpline for questions about Coronavirus for staff, parents and young people:

Free school meals 

Children eligible to income-related free school meals will be entitled to receive their free school meal through food vouchers whilst schools are closed over the summer holiday period. Food vouchers will be distributed via your child’s school and can be used in a number of different supermarkets. Please be aware that children who receive their meal under the ‘Universal Infant Free School Meals’ (for children in Year R, 1 and 2) scheme will not receive support whilst schools are closed unless they are also eligible for income-related free school meals.

The Department for Education has updated guidance for schools for children eligible for free school meals including details of access to the Summer Food Fund through the National Food Voucher Scheme; this has been made available to all eligible families. Further information on the voucher scheme can be found here.

If your child is entitled to income-related free school meals and you would like to know what voucher options are available, please contact your child’s school.

If your personal circumstances have recently changed and you would like to check if your child is now eligible to receive income-related free school meals, please speak to your school or read our guidance and apply online at Free school meals.

School transport

Further to the recent Government advice, schools are planned to fully re-open in September and we are arranging for transport provision to resume.

As far as possible, we would like to encourage children who can safely and appropriately cycle or walk, to do so. Many teachers report that pupils who walk or cycle to school are more alert and ready to learn than those who arrive by car. The Bedford and Kempston Cycling and Walking Map can be found here,Travel Bedford cycling maps which can help you plan the safest route. There are also individual or family cycle lessons available to help build your confidence while cycling, for more details please email sustainable.transport@bedford.gov.uk .

For children who use dedicated home to school transport, commissioned by Bedford Borough Council. Operators will, in line with DfE guidance, not require the same social distancing measures that will be in place on public transport. This means that they will largely be running their normal scheduled service with additional protective measures in place, as agreed by Public Health. For further information please read the Parent/ Carer guide to transport during COVID-19

We are aware that some schools plan to change or stagger start and finish times; we have liaised with schools and, where possible, transport is being planned to support these arrangements. If your child’s transport route has been changed, you will be informed.

For pupils deemed eligible to free school transport under Bedford Borough Council transport policies; information regarding dedicated schools transport services will be sent out before the start of term.

For children who use the public bus network, social distancing is expected to still be in place and available capacity on public bus services will be reduced in line with the latest Department for Transport guidance. The Council has been liaising with local transport providers and schools/colleges to identify areas of concern and larger vehicles, designated school buses and / or additional resource will be implemented, where possible. Social distancing will not apply to vehicles that have been closed to members of the general public and are only transporting school students. All schools have been advised to encourage children who usually travel to school on public transport to consider cycling or walking as an alternative means of travel, where possible.

Please read the following guides of how we are providing school transport in line with the current public health guidelines during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

If you believe your child is eligible to transport, and you require additional information regarding entitlement to transport or bus services in September, please contact the relevant Transport Team listed below:

School Transport Entitlement Team: School.Transport@bedford.gov.uk 01234 276713

Mainstream School Transport Team: Mainstream.Transport@Bedford.gov.uk 01234 276528

SEND Transport Team: Client.Transport@Bedford.gov.uk 01234 276116

Please be advised that new applications for transport, will be processed within 15 working days.