MORE than £12 million of taxpayer’s money has been spent on school taxi journeys in just three years.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted to Glasgow City Council has revealed that in 2017/18, £4.2 million was spent on taxis for school pupils, £4.5 million in 2018/19 and £3.3 million in 2019/2020.

Over the three year period the longest journey was 107 miles, there and back, and the shortest was just one mile.

In some cases children will need to travel to schools outwith Glasgow in order to meet their learning needs.

The FOI confirmed that pupil transport is required for a number of reasons including transporting children and young people across the city to and from additional support for learning schools. which very often are not within the pupil’s school catchment area.

Pupils often need to travel to different schools to study subjects not available at their own educational establishment and to the advanced higher hub at Glasgow Caledonian University.

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The university offers sixth years the opportunity to study advanced higher subjects as well as experience first-hand some of the opportunities and challenges that come with student life.

They work in partnership with the council and local schools to offer English, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Modern Studies, Business Management, History and Physics to between 100 to 160 S6 pupils each academic year.

The taxi and private hire companies currently used by the local authority to transport pupils around are AT Taxis, Central Cars, City Cars, Glasgow Private Hire, Glasgow Taxis, Network and Southside.

All of these companies can be and are used for travel in any part of the city, picking up passengers in single or multiple locations within any individual journey.

While it is the responsibility of the parents and carers to secure their children’s education, the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 requires the authority to make appropriate provision to assist children and young people to have access to education.

Under Section 42 of the Act, the council must provide free transport or other arrangements for all children and young people up to age eight who live more than 1.2 miles from their local school.

They must also plan lifts for all children and young people over age eight who live more than 2.2 miles from their local school.

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In certain circumstances requests for transport for a child or young person who has a significant medical condition and who requires transport to enable him or her to attend their catchment school can be made.

A child or young person can be placed in a school nominated by the council, for example, as a result of their local catchment school being full.

Where this happens the child or young person will be provided with transport in line with the distance criteria.

Transport will be provided until a place becomes available at their catchment school. If the parent or carer decides that their child should remain at the nominated school then this will be treated as a placing request and transport will no longer be available.

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “The majority of taxi journeys are used to transport our children and young people with additional support needs to and from the school or unit in the city that best meets their individual needs and this is normally not in the pupil’s local community.

“In a very small number of cases transport will also be required by our pupils who attend a specialist school outside of Glasgow to meet their needs.”