Campaigners fighting for a review of Lincolnshire’s school transport policy say the councillor responsible is “missing the point”.
Parents from the Glenside area, around the Bythams and Creeton, want Lincolnshire County Council to rethink its free school transport criteria.
It is not just as small group of parents as our recent activities show, and it is certainly not just grammar schools that we are concerned aboutKasia Doran
Currently, children living in the area are entitled to a free bus pass for one school, Stamford Welland Academy. But parents believe they should also be entitled to free transport to Bourne, which has a state and grammar school, to increase the educational opportunities available. Stamford and Bourne are both nine miles from the villages.
About 75 per cent of Lincolnshire residents fall in “designated transport areas” for grammar schools, such as Bourne Grammar, and are entitled to free bus passes. But Glenside does not.
The issue was raised at a full council meeting on Friday, when several councillors challenged council leader Martin Hill (Con) and executive councillor for children’s services Patricia Bradwell (Con) on the policy.
After the meeting Coun Bradwell said the current policy was not “discriminatory” and the council did not have to provide transport to grammar schools.
She added: “However, I do recognise the concerns of those small group of parents who live just over the border of these areas and can’t access grammar schools and the free transport for their children.
“We will look and review this again, although I can’t promise we will be able to change things in the current financial situation when we have to find significant savings over future years.”
“In the light of the current economic climate and people asking for us to look again at transport to grammar schools it has to be remembered that this would have to be a county-wide review to cover all schools. Everything in home to school transport would have to be looked at”
But campaigner Kasia Doran said: “Coun Bradwell is completely missing the point. It is not just as small group of parents as our recent activities show, and it is certainly not just grammar schools that we are concerned about.
“Our correspondence with Coun Bradwell was always in relation to the policy as a whole. A policy that is nearly 50 years old, and on that ground we see it as out of date. A policy that did not follow up school expansion and new catchment areas.”
Campaigners will meet Stamford and Bourne MP Nick Boles (Con) today. Coun Bradwell will also be present.
A petition set up by campaigners in Claypole, who are in a similar situation, has so far attracted 600 signatures.