Some Isle of Wight parents could soon have to pay more to send their children to school while others could have their entitlement to transport taken away, as the council looks to save money.

As costs continue to rise, the Isle of Wight Council has launched a public consultation on its home-to-school transport policy.

Despite taking fewer children to school than in 2012, the cost of doing so has risen to £4.3 million last year, as there is more demand for pupils needing taxis to take them to school.

The authority now takes 1,662 children a day to school, free of charge, who all meet the strict eligibility criteria as set by government.

To help fund the service, the council is proposing six changes to the home-to-school transport policy which was last updated in 2015.

The Isle of Wight Council, taking examples from authorities in Kent and Essex, is now looking to create "more flexible transport arrangements".

These could include:

  • A 46 per cent increase on how much parents pay for 'spare seats' on buses — jumping from £390 to £570 a year from September. The cost could then rise with inflation each year, starting in September 2025.
  • Where children are granted an exception to the home-to-school policy and provided transport through the council, a charge could be introduced to parents, depending on how far they live from the school. It would start at £640 for up to five miles and rise to £1,419 for over ten miles.
  • Students in Years 10 and 11, who move out of the area during their GCSEs but wish to remain at their current school would no longer be entitled to travel from September. The council says there is no legal requirement to do so, it has just been providing the service to avoid disruption to the pupil's education at a crucial time.
  • "Where deemed beneficial" students with special educational needs would be offered 'Independent Travel Training' so they can be prepared for adulthood. The training would be offered in consultation with the pupil's parents. The council recognises it would not be suitable for the majority of pupils and would help fewer than five pupils a year.
  • The need for passenger assistants for pupils with learning or physical disabilities would be regularly reviewed if the pupil's needs change. Currently there is no set review system.
  • The Parental Mileage Allowance could be replaced with Personal Transport Budgets so parents can make the suitable travel arrangements to get their child to and from school.

Council officers previously said last year the authority was operating close to a statutory minimum of service and change and funding was needed from government.

Three changes are also proposed for the council's Post 16 transport service — which it does not legally have to provide.

The authority currently offers travel for 151 Post 16 students with learning difficulties and disabilities to access the closest suitable provision for them.

Now, the council is looking to charge the student's parents for the transport.

The consultation will end on March 13 and the final decision will be made by the Isle of Wight Council's cabinet in the coming months.