Barnsley students highlight transport woes

Angela Smith MP with Barnsley College students.
Angela Smith MP with Barnsley College students.

South Yorkshire students revealed the difficulties they face through a lack of funding for transport when they were visited by a local MP.

Young adults at Barnsley College told Angela Smith MP about the financial issues they can encounter due to the fact they are not entitled to free journeys.

The visit was part of a national lobbying day by the Association of Colleges.

Colin Booth OBE, principal at Barnsley College, said: “Transport is a major factor for young people in accessing education or training.

“In further education or sixth-form colleges, students often have to travel further than those at school because of the specialist provision that colleges offer.”

Currently, school children benefit from free travel to school but no universal system exists to support the travel needs of 16- to 18-year-olds, despite the fact that everyone is now required to participate in education and training until their 18th birthday.

In many parts of England, young people aged 16 to 18 can face daily journeys by public transport if they choose a technical, professional or vocational career route.

The Association of Colleges is calling for the government to update the transport rules to ensure local authorities undertake a full assessment of the travel needs of 16- to 18-year-olds to ensure they can choose the courses which best enable them to achieve their potential.

Angela Smith said: “I listened to the students’ accounts of the financial difficulties they sometimes face when travelling to and from college.

“Young people deserve to be able to attend college and gain the skills which will enable them to enjoy a bright future and realise their potential. It is important that transport does not prove to be a stumbling block.”