Call to review transport rules for rural pupils

Lincolnshire County Council.
Lincolnshire County Council.
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A group of parents have launched a campaign to get county councillors to reconsider the free school transport policy.

The group, based around the Bythams and Creeton, say Lincolnshire County Council’s current policy is unfair and based on historical data that no longer applies.

Secondary age children in the area are entitled to free transport to Stamford Welland Academy as their nearest state comprehensive school. But parents believe they should also be offered transport to the nearest grammar school, which is Bourne Grammar School.

Pupils areas in the county, such as nearby Corby Glen, get transport to comprehensive and grammar schools.

Jane King, who has a son at Bourne Academy and a daughter at Bourne Grammar, is one of those leading the campaign. She has organised a public meeting at Little Bytham village hall at 7.30pm on Thursday to encourage parents to give their views.

Jane said: “We want the council to bring the policy in line so it’s fair. But they won’t meet with us. The council has written to use to say that we are not eligible.”

The council’s school services manager David Robinson said: “Free transport to grammar schools is a discretionary policy of the council. It is available for secondary age children to their nearest grammar school if the pupil’s address lies within a ‘designated transport area’ (DTA) for a grammar school.

“There are grammar school DTAs covering about two thirds of the county, but a large part of the county, traditionally served by all-ability schools, do not have grammar school DTAs. Creeton and other villages in the area are within this part of the county with no grammar school DTA, and secondary age children are entitled to transport to their designated or nearest all-ability school that is over three miles from their home.

“Of course, parents can decide to send their children to a school of their choice but if they don’t meet the free transport criteria they would have to sort this out themselves.”