Newport City Council uses routing software to decide on the shortest walking route to school - this may not necessarily be the route chosen by the child.
The routing software has been approved and tested by council officers and members and is the only measurement tool used by the council.
When looking at applications for free home to school transport, distances are measured by the shortest available walking route between the nearest entrance or front gate of the home and the nearest entrance or gate of the school.
A route is seen as 'available' if a child, accompanied as necessary, can walk to school in reasonable safety.
Parents, not the council, will determine whether the child should be accompanied
The council will consider the risks and other safety factors e.g. canals, rivers, ditches, street lighting, pavements and the speed of traffic along roads.
Routes are assessed on the days and times that pupils would be expected to use the route following the guidelines set out in Welsh Government’s Learner Travel Statutory Provision and Operational Guidance June 2014 (pdf)
This guidance says that the council must consider a route to be 'safe' and therefore 'available' unless the risk is such that an adult accompanying the child would be at significant risk from traffic.
Sometimes we need to arrange pick-up points for children when it is not possible for vehicles to pass close to homes.
The pick-up point should normally be less than one mile away from home.
Free transport may be provided in exceptional cases where the council decides that there is no suitable available route to school.
The degree of risk involved would need to be such that the individual accompanying the child would be at significant risk from the particular traffic situation.
Pupils who are not eligible for free home to school transport are able to use local buses as fare-paying passengers.
Concessionary seats may also be available for purchase on contracted vehicles.
Free transport may be provided, in exceptional circumstances, on medical grounds in respect of pupils who reside within the catchment area of their school. Applications must be supported by a recent medical consultant’s report recommending special transport for a specified period.