What will be the impact of ensuring all school students in regional SA have the opportunity to take a school bus to school?

Hello and welcome to the discussion forum on the review of school bus services in regional SA.

What options and implications are there for guaranteeing that all school students in regional South Australia have a place on the school bus?

Read the Review of School Bus Services Terms of Reference(Opens in a new window) and the SA School Transport Policy(Opens in a new window) and provide your feedback in the discussion below.

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Kasey Cunneen

15 Feb 2019

Access to bus transport to and from school is a vital service for rural students, families & rural communities. I can only comment on transport to and from a government school as this is our family’s choice of schooling for our children. Our family is reliant and grateful that such a safe transport option is currently provided to our children through the Education Department.
I do believe however Kindergarten & Preschool children should have the same rights to school buses as school children do. We are only allocated a seat on a school bus for our Kindergarten children if a seat is available. Thankfully our school is very accommodating and will work with our Kindergarten Families but I understand this is not always the case in other towns. Kindergarten & Preschool is an extremely imperative step towards a child’s school years however the restrictions on transport options for Kindergarten children can impact the attendance rates due to the distances some families live and the travel required.

Leah Breen

15 Feb 2019

Options -
1. A rationalised bus system whereby buses can be distributed on the basis of students residing in a particular area and going to school in a particular area NOT on the basis of the school they attend.
2. A system that enables use of bus transport in regional areas for non-students outside of the school transport requirements. Eg use of buses during the day, at weekends and school holidays for regional transport solutions.
3. The possibility of non-students using buses with students to increase the feasibility of particular routes. This could apply to both paying and non-paying clients.

Angela Ruddenklay

15 Feb 2019

All students regardless of the school they attend should be entitled to equal access on school buses. Families should have the choice to send their children to a school that best meets the educational, social and emotional development of their children, knowing that their children can access the school bus service.

Allison Mason

15 Feb 2019

All families should be entitled to send their children to a school of their choice, for many different reasons. Parents should have the right to select a school, without it compromising the fact they may not have a bus service option. Students should have the right to access the school bus regardless. It is unfair that children are being left stranded and no way of getting to school because these parents are choosing a different schooling option. It is putting a huge amount of pressure and financial burden on parents to be able to find work commitments that fit it to school hours. It is vital that we change the bus services to accommodate all.

Kylie Murphy

15 Feb 2019

Ensuring regional families have a right for their children to travel to and from the school of their choice is a very important factor. Parents should have the right to select a school without it having implications on whether they will have access to the bus service. There are/have been some local families who's children attend their closest Catholic school but are deemed ineligible to travel to school via bus. The implications of this on the family farming business or other employment are huge and not sustainable. All children should have the right to travel to school via bus and not be refused access due to attending a private school or the number of seats available being exceeded.

Leanne Lang

15 Feb 2019

All families should have freedom of choice to select a school that best suits their family and students needs. Current bus policies impact the freedom of choice for families who select a Catholic education for their children and require school bus services. In it's current form the school bus services have a huge social, emotional and financial impact of families who may be deemed 'ineligible'. Some families are travelling in excess of 160km per day to take their children to a school of their choice, why should certain schools get precedence over others? This creates a social divide and angst in small communities where there is 'competition' to get seats on buses. Every child deserves the right to an education, by ensuring all school students in regional SA have the opportunity to take a bus to and from ALL SCHOOLS is vital.

Melinda Oster

15 Feb 2019

All students should be able to attend their closest School and arrive in a reasonable amount of time, this in NOT happening in our situation. Because we don't have a High School in our local town, but in the next town, our small Primary School students are being caused to spend lengthy extra time away from home, to get High School students to town to catch the next bus onto their School. I am told this is because theory rules and regulations say things that just don't fit into practical terms for our small Primary School students. Which means Primary Students can be at School nearly an hour before School, and half an hour after School.
Considering our High School was taking away from us years ago to save money, we are now forced to travel further, I can not understand why there is absolutely no flexibility when it come to our bus transport. I am told bus travel is a privilege and not a right, and I understand this, but when we can't physically move our homes/businesses to suit transport, we have no other public transport, I personally believe uncommon sense rules, cause Primary School students (very small students) leaving home around 7.30am and home close to 5pm, is just not good enough.
I believe there are some quite simply ways to help with some of Students time away from home (we have the bus, we just need it to travel a little further in one instance), but the rules just won't allow it I have been told by our Principle. This is just not OK for our young kids. Being away from home for this amount of time obviously is tiring for any child, and can only assume what impact on daily/school/family life this is having.

Also at different time there seems to be inconsistency when things can be past for some bus routes and not for others. There are options that can help families, but for some reason we can not have access to them. Practically these rule do not make sense.
I am more than happy to continue to chat to anyone regarding this matter. Common sense on bus routes need to be used, one size does not fit all.

Brooke Stockman

14 Feb 2019

All students regardless of the school they attend should be entitled to equal access on school buses. Families should have the choice to send their children to a school that best meets the educational, social and emotional development of their children, knowing that their children can access the school bus service.

Kimberley McGorman

14 Feb 2019

Access to bus transport to school is a vital part of living in a rural community. All students should be able to access the same transport options regardless of what school they attend, transport should be fair and equitable.
Allowing all students to access a bus to school will allow parents to select the best school for their children. There are financial, time and distance constraints that can impact on parents choosing a school based on proximity to home/transport, rather than on the type of the education that will meets their child’s needs. Long travel times can impact on families in numerous ways including financially due to reduced work hours, increase family stress with longer travel times, more fuel and car related expenses. Better access to transport will allow parents more opportunities to select the best schooling for their children, improved productivity and overall quality family time together.
This would also improve the cost effectiveness of running the bus services. There are currently significant discrepancies in the cost of the bus transport depending on in if it's a privately run bus company, what child the school attends or if it's it owned/ operated by the private school. Our children attend a private school and catch a privately run bus service. The bus fees are expensive and the funding received to access these bus services is not consistent across all schools. Some children are also able to access an Education department bus (some via a long and stressful process) and others aren't. This is inequitable and there should be a consistent system that allows all families to access the best bus service for them. Combining access to transport would improve the opportunities for all families to be able to access a more conveniently located bus stop/ bus route which will accommodate more families and make bus services more affordable for all families.

A Wardle

14 Feb 2019

My husband and I support freedom of choice as parents to select a school that best fits any families needs. My husband as a rural business owner travels large distances everyday for his job and is unable to contribute to school drops offs and pick ups. I am also employed part time at the catholic school our children attend. My employment has resulted in our decision to send our children to a school that also happens to be in the ‘next town’. Without transport being available to all children we would not have a ‘choice’ in what school we send our children.

Kirsty Gwynn-jones

14 Feb 2019

All student’s have the right to access public transport regardless of their choice of school.

Martin Hayes

14 Feb 2019

Ensuring all school students in regional SA have the opportunity to take a school bus to school will:

-Give parents more freedom of choice when it comes to which school they would like to send their child/ren to. All parents should be able to choose freely where they send their child to school but this isn’t the case with the current bus system. As the principal of a rural Catholic school I am consistently made aware of families who would like to send their child to our school, but because they can’t be guaranteed a bus service they have had to make another choice.

-ensure that parents are not financially disadvantaged.
We have had families that have chosen to send their children to our school, even though they were denied a bus service for a period of time. This meant they had to drive from their home to school, then home again and then repeat the same trips again in the afternoon for pick up time. This is obviously more petrol and wear and tear on their car compared to their neighbour who can send their child on a bus each morning and afternoon.
Unfortunately there is a “belief” among some community members that if a family choose to send their child to a school where they pay school fees then that family can afford to drive their child/ren to school. This is definitely not the case, many of our families save very, very hard for the choice of education they have made and it is not fair that they may have to pay out more to get them to school.

-ensure that parents working lives are not disadvantaged. In the example above, the parents had to rearrange their lives considerably. Either mum or dad could not start work till after 9:00am and they had to ensure that either of them was around at the end of the day for pick up, which at times resulted in mum or dad leaving work early, or they had to organise “others” to be available to help out.

-diminish, in some way, the “us” vs “them” mentality that unfortunately some community members have when it comes to government vs non-government school systems. A bus for all makes it a fairer system for all.

Skye Boxall

14 Feb 2019

Giving regional students the opportunity to take the bus to school will allow families their freedom of choice in selecting their preferred school and reduce the financial, emotional and time burden on families caused by having to travel up to 100+kms a day.

Buses need to be reviewed regularly as in our case, the bus loops around a road where students are no longer requiring it anymore, but it’s not allowed to come closer to us (which makes more sense) as there is a bus route to another school closer. The school we attend is actually closer to our residence than the one the closest bus route goes to!

We love the school we are at and don’t want to have to change because of an issue with a few kms.

Meriam De Vries

14 Feb 2019

Students have a right to access public transport regardless of their choice of school

Callie Siwak

14 Feb 2019

Bus access for all students promotes the inclusivity our education system claims to have. Furthermore, it will support the freedom of choice for parents to select a school that best fits their family & child/ren’s needs rather than being forced into the only school they are able to access.

James Bryant

14 Feb 2019

The School bus service is absolutely necessary to get rural students to school.
1. We cannot allow the general public on school buses while the buses are transporting students to-and-from school. There is a duty of care involved and parents need to be sure their children are safe. For example: there are reasons why the general public are not allowed to sit in the school playground interacting with the students all day.
2. In rural areas many religion-based schools have their own private buses that will pick students up at their door each morning, so the service for these schools is far better than is offer to public school students. Many Public School students have to be driven to-and-from the bus stops because the bus-stops are set in stone from years gone by (sometimes they stop where no students now live). There is a process to change the locations of the bus stops but the usual answer is "NO".
3. I don't mind the idea that both Catholic/Lutheran/others share the bus with public students because it is a fair and honest thing to do. I also believe parents should have choices in which school their students attend if there are spaces available in those schools. If parents are happy to send their students to a school an extra few km down the road, then so be it. (I cut this comment from another comment) Access too and gaining an education is meant to be right to every person in Australia and thus it should not have conditions placed on it.

Nicky Hancock

14 Feb 2019

It is vitally important that all children in regional areas have access to the school bus. It would support freedom of choice for parents to choose a Catholic education for their children. We are primary producers and therefore self-employed. Without the bus service we would be driving 80km a day, 400km/week. This would impacts our ability to work the farm and run our business and also my ability to work off farm. Access to bus travel encourages social interaction, ensures children arrive to school on time and sets them up well for the day.

Government Agency

School Bus Review team

14 Feb 2019

Thankyou for participating in the online discussion in response to the school bus review currently being conducted for school buses in regional South Australia. All responses will be considered and collated at the end of the consultation, which will assist in forming the report to Government.

Megan Howell

14 Feb 2019

This review is just trumped up electioneering by the liberal party to help out their private school bodies. The fact that they have allocated such little money ($250,000) and such little time (3-4 months) towards this review can only mean that they have already made a decision and they are just doing a review to legitimise it.

The current school bus service is fair and equitable, all students in rural area are entitled to a seat on a bus to their nearest government school regardless of what school they are attending. I don’t think the government should be expanding the service to allow private school students to attend the private school of their choice. You don’t see the Catholic Education Office offering free services to government students but the want a free bus service for their students.

If the service is expanded it will increase the cost of running the service exponentially. You will have government students wanting to go to a government school other than their nearest school.

Caroline Weckert

14 Feb 2019

Transport in rural an regional areas is a significant resource that is under valued in metropolitan areas. Being able to access public transport to schools is paramount to ensure that all children are able to attend appropriate schooling which meets both the educational, social and emotional development of their children and their family. Access to public transport is a major influencer and often a deterrent when families are considering what school is appropriate for their children. In regional areas often children within one household need to attend different schools, often for reasons outside of their control (this includes what year levels are supported at each school). This often means travelling long distances to access either a school bus or to deliver their children through private transport if they are ineligible to access the bus system under the current model which preferences Department schools. The stress and angst that this can cause both the families and their children can have devastating affects on the children's ability to succeed and receive an appropriate education. All families pay tax and hence their children should be able to access public transport to schools regardless of the school they are attending. In some cases families have to travel in excess of 200km per day to enable their children to attend school, this may occur even though there is a local school bus that they should be able to access and one that older or younger siblings may already be using. Inability to access public transport to schools in rural and remote areas impacts parents on their ability to seek employment or continue in self employment, adding to their financial burden, as well as impacting on their ability to provide safe supervision of siblings who might be attending other schools whilst parents are transporting some of their children to school. It is imperative in rural and remote regions that all families have equal access to the bus system regardless of their choice of school. Access too and gaining an education is meant to be right to every person in Australia and thus it should not have conditions placed on it. A bus system eligible for DECD students only, does this suggests that a non-government education is not suitable or does it imply that DECD schools are not a priority school of choice for families? We should also ask, do we really want more cars on roads, what is the environmental impact that this causes?

Jane Adams

13 Feb 2019

The impact of allowing all children to access school buses to their school of choice (be it government or independent) would relieve unnecessary pressure off families living regionally. Due to current policies the cost to families who are at the mercy of ‘seat numbers’ live vulnerably about the future of not only their children’s education, but how as a family unit they can adapt to their provisional access which can change at any time.
All we would like is for our children to have what we believe is the best education which for us happens to be a catholic school, while contributing economically through our farming business and also working off farm to ensure a regular income. In the past ineligibility has seen us travel 76km round trip, twice daily, taking 2 hours total just to get our children to and from school. During this period we made changes to our working conditions to suit the school pickups and drop offs which were not sustainable. This took its toll both emotionally and financially. We are currently thankful that we are not having to travel like this now, but are concerned about future issues with buses.

Julian Rebellato

13 Feb 2019

The transport system is an influential and significant resource for both families and schools in rural and regional areas. The current model, which preferences Department schools can take away the choices of families to select schools that are best suited to their child’s needs and parents’ values.
It is essential and above all just and equitable that all families have equal access to resources which service the community. By all families having equal access to the bus system it will allow those who live out of town to spend more time on the land, decrease environmental resources and cars on the road. All families pay tax, all families should receive equal rights.

Brooke Dempsey

13 Feb 2019

Families who live in rural and regional South Australia are just as entitled to a choice in education as those in the city. Families who make a choice to have their children educated in a non government school should have the choice to catch a bus to school. School buses should be able to take children to school regardless of their families choice of education sector.

Elle Rayson

13 Feb 2019

As a representative of a rural Catholic school who will be greatly impacted if our students are unable to continue taking the school bus to school. It is our wish that the running of these buses is shifted to another portfolio such as, The Department for Planning, Transport & Infrastructure, to ensure that there is no bias in this matter.

David Green

13 Feb 2019

All country children should have access to the school buses. All taxpayers help fund these vehicles and to make only students attending DECD schools eligible is unfair. Regardless of the educational system parents choose, they should have access to utilise the transport that their taxes contributes to. By making non-government school students ineligible removes the democratic right of allowing families to have a choice in the education they desire for their children. A lot of regional families work on farms, away from the schools. They need the support of the buses to transport their children into areas where they can attend school. Should it only be eligible for DECD students suggests that a non-government education is not valued and not suitable. This puts added pressure on our farmers who are doing it tough enough as it is, which could lead to a completely different conversation of government funding and support.