Booking is underway for ‘privilege seats’ on school buses, for places from September for the 2020/21 academic year.

Parents and guardians of children not eligible for free school transport can apply for a privilege seat, from 9am today (Monday August 3) until midday on Friday August 14.

Click HERE for more details and to book a seat.

Fewer Seats

There are fewer seats from this September, after contractual changes agreed by the Isle of Wight Council in February.

In April, the Isle of Wight County Press reported how some children would be faced much longer journeys to school by public bus.

Read more: Cuts to places on Isle of Wight school buses criticised by parents

The local authority says 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.

Privilege seats are spare seats sold to parents whose children attend school outside their catchment area.

The Isle of Wight Council said:

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

What has the Council said?

Isle of Wight County Press:

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.”

In April, Martin Goff, head of school transport at the council, emailed parents to say: "From September 2020, we will procure a service that best matches demand for the pupils eligible for local authority funded transport and, whenever possible, does not result in an excess of surplus seats.

"We anticipate the number of available spare seats on buses and coaches will reduce significantly from September 2020."


The Isle of Wight Green Party's Vix Lowthion said Island families would be penalised, saying the seats were not a luxury.