27 Aug 2020
Bexley schools will start re-opening their doors again to all students from next week. Schools across Bexley have been open since the beginning of the pandemic for children whose parents are key workers and those children who may have a special care plan in place. Children and young people starting the new term may not only see changes to classrooms, but also to the way they travel to school.
Schools will be doing all they can to ensure a safe return for everyone for the new term. This will include using ‘social bubbles’, wearing masks where needed and social distancing. Each school will have details of these changes on its website, or will communicate the changes to parents and carers. Children and young people are also being asked to think differently about how they travel to school.
From next week Transport for London (TfL) will be arranging dedicated bus services for school students on all of its busiest school bus routes, alongside regular services. The school buses will be able to operate at 100% capacity and school students will be asked to use them rather than non-school services. Regular buses will continue to operate at 40% capacity and residents may like to be aware that this is likely to cause pressure on transport capacity at the start of the day and when the school day finishes
Everyone over11 using a bus without an exemption will be expected to wear a mask.
Local secondary schools have staggered their opening times to help ease the pressure on popular bus routes. Schools have written to parents and carers to inform them of the changes.
Cabinet Member for Schools, Cllr John Fuller said: “Our schools have been amazing during the pandemic, providing a safe place to learn to those who needed it most. As they carefully reopen for ‘business as usual’ they have so much to plan and look forward to.
“Our school pupils and college students are being encouraged to start to walk, cycle or scoot into school or college as a great way to get fit, help the environment and ease some of the pressure on buses. Travelling to school may be just a small part of a school day but we need the help of schools, parents and carers to encourage our young people to travel to school in a different way. Jumping on a bike or scooter may even be the start of some new hobbies and fitness regimes!”
Bexley will be putting temporary signs and extending sections of pavement where safe to do so at a number of schools, as part of TfL’s Streetspace programme to make social distancing easier.
The Council has secured funding from the Streetspace programme, along with Department for Transport funding from the Active Travel Fund and Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government funding from the European Regional Development Fund, to install social distancing and safety measures. The new measures are also designed to encourage people to walk or cycle, rather than travel by public transport, especially for short journeys.
The first scheme was put in place in Erith last month.
Other schemes include –
The schemes should be completed by the first week of October.
To find out more about TfL’s plans for school travel when schools go back visit https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/schools-and-young-people/travel-guidance-for-schools?cid=reopeningeducation
Further Government information for parents and carers on nurseries, schools and colleges reopening is available here https://www.gov.uk/education under ‘Guidance and Regulations’
Bexley offers free cycle training to adults and children who live, work or attend school in the borough. For further information visit www.bexley.gov.uk/services/parking-transport-and-streets/road-safety-and-cycle-skills-bexley/free-cycle-training
Editors’ note -
The TfL Streetspace Programme schemes have been put in place in areas that are likely to encounter the most crowding and travel demand in the shortest timescales as lockdown restrictions are lifted.
These locations fall into the following broad categories:
For more on TfL’s Street Space plan visit https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/streetspace-for-london
For more information on facecoverings on TfL visit https://tfl.gov.uk/campaign/face-coverings
European Regional Development Fund
The project is receiving up to £130,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.