Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Anger at shift in school bus fares policy
A COUNCILLOR is launching a petition against his own authority’s cost-cutting changes to the way financial assistance with school transport is provided.
From next month, Worcestershire County Council will only consider assistance with transport costs to the nearest school within a pupil’s catchment area.
But Liberal Democrat Coun Clive Smith, who represents the Link division in Malvern, believes the move will provide a “false economy”, increase traffic and pollution on the roads and leave hundreds of parents inconvenienced and out of pocket.
He has launched a petition calling for the changes to be scrapped.
In his own division, he said dozens of families living in villages such as Leigh Sinton, Storridge and Knightwick with children at The Chase school would be caught out – because the new arrangement means financial assistance is now only available for transport to the town’s other high school, Dyson Perrins CE Academy.
“This is absolutely not the right way to save money. It is a false economy,” he said. “We will get people with children who already have siblings at The Chase taking their younger children in themselves and it does not seem a sensible situation.”
Someone affected by the changes is Paul Phillips, of Hoopers Close, in Leigh Sinton, who was shocked to be told his son Brandon, aged 11, would not be eligible for free bus transport to The Chase when he starts next month. This is despite the fact that his four other children have received free transport without any problem.
He said paying for bus travel would cost the best part of £500 a year, so he will drive Brandon to school.
Coun Smith said he would fight to reverse the decision ‘as soon as possible’. “I’m determined to get the council to reconsider and need as many signatures as possible.”
Coun Jane Potter, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said the changes were being introduced as the result of a ‘significant’ consultation.