Students called on to think ahead

Sixth form pupils from King Edward VI High School, Morpeth with their post-16 travel passes, with Julie Darling, Northumberland County Council network officer

Sixth form pupils from King Edward VI High School, Morpeth with their post-16 travel passes, with Julie Darling, Northumberland County Council network officer

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STUDENTS beginning post-16 education this autumn are being urged to sort out their transport arrangements now.

Full-time students are entitled to free student travel to and from high school sixth forms, further education and specialist colleges on weekdays, but they must apply for passes early to guarantee they will be ready in time for the start of term.

For students to qualify for the pass, they must be attending a full-time course for at least 12 hours per week at the nearest place of study offering their course, and it must be at least three miles from their home.

Students who know where they will be studying in September can apply for their passes now, and if they do so before Friday, July 20, they are guaranteed to have them by the start of term.

Simon Reed, executive member for infrastructure and environment at Northumberland County Council and also ward councillor for Bothal in Ashington, said: “Last year, we received around 3,500 applications for passes, with almost half of these coming in at the end of August, putting a great pressure on our school transport team and causing students to be disappointed when passes weren’t ready in time for the start of the school term.

“For this reason, we are urging students to apply as soon as they can if they know where they are intending to study.

“We will of course endeavour to process all the applications as quickly as possible, and applying online will make this easier and more efficient for everyone involved.”

For more information and to apply for the student pass online visit www.northumberland.gov.uk Paper forms are also available by calling 0845 600 6400.