Transport and drop-off

Changes to school buses from 22 February 2021

Following the announcement by the First Minister on 16 February, schools will begin a phased reopening for P1 to P3 pupils and limited numbers of S4 to S6 pupils from Monday 22 February. Existing arrangements for children from P4 to S5 of keyworkers and those that are vulnerable will continue.

In order to plan for the return of limited numbers of S4 to S6 students, and to comply with the new mandatory 2m physical distancing on school transport, all secondary schools will operate in groups as follows:

  • Senior phase Group 1 and Keyworker & Vulnerable pupils arrive at school  0830. Senior phase Group 1 (morning only) collected at 1130 return home.
  • Senior phase Group 2 (afternoon only) arrive at school 1230  
  • Senior phase Group 2 and Keyworker & Vulnerable pupils collected at 1530
  • Additional support needs, transport as per normal school attendance.

What are the arrangements for all school transport and public transport?

There have been a number of changes to allow us to continue to provide a home to school transport service and the council has commissioned additional buses. These changes apply whether you use a contracted service or receive a bus pass for public transport. Please read the information from transport services when you receive it and discuss it with your child.

  • separate buses will be provided for primary and secondary school children and young people even if they are from the same family group to minimise transmission between schools.
  • pick up times may have changed and be earlier than in previous years.
  • there will be seating plans for buses
  • families should provide their pupil with hand sanitiser, which must be used prior to boarding the bus
  • face coverings will also be mandatory on all home to school transport – contracted or public service – to avoid any confusion. The exemption rules for face coverings are the same as public transport and an exemption card can be found at:

Failing to adhere to these guidelines could lead to a pupil being refused entry to the bus.

All children and young people must have a bus pass for travel. Children and young people will not be accepted onto a bus without a valid pass for the current academic year.

Find out more about timetables

How can my child get to and from school safely?

Children and young people are being encouraged to walk, cycle and scoot to school where possible and we’re investing in routes around schools to make this even safer. Where that isn’t possible we are asking all families to park further away from the school and walk the remaining distance to keep the areas around our schools safe with space for physical distancing. For families that rely on our home to school transport, extensive work has been carried out with our partners and transport providers to make sure we comply with all health and Government advice, including enhanced cleaning before and after each journey. Air conditioning and ventilation systems will not be used on buses.

Families must also play their part by ensuring their child brings and uses hand sanitiser before boarding a bus, and that they wear a mask. This applies on all forms of transport unless there is a medical exemption. In that case, children and young people should carry an exemption card.

Seating plans will apply on buses with all children and young people and all children and young people travelling must have a valid pass.

How will drop-off/pick-up be managed to minimise unnecessary contact/maintain physical distancing? How will this work for nursery age children?

Schools will identify the most appropriate arrangements for drop off and pick up of children as part of their reopening planning and your child's school will make you aware of the specific arrangements.

Please help your school by co-operating with their advice to manage the pickup and drop off safely for everyone.

Alison McCallum Director of Public Health and Health Policy has written to parents to highlight the importance of keeping a two metre distance from others at the school gates. If you can, please wear a face covering to help limit spread of the virus. Face coverings help reduce the spread of droplets, and so help limit the spread of coronavirus. By not gathering at school gates and by wearing face coverings we can limit transmission possibilities keeping everyone safe. Read the letter here.

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