A student has called Suffolk County Council’s plans to cut its spending on free school bus passes as ‘catastrophically damaging’ for her fellow pupils.
A consultation is currently under way, giving the public the choice of three options:
This would leave friendship groups broken, school clubs and committees damaged and the school would be an entirely different placeEleanor Luxton
l To only offer the services required by law
l To allow those with free transport now to keep it, but not offer it to new starters
l To do nothing but cut costs elsewhere.
It could see 3,700 children lose their free transport in the county.
Eleanor Luxton, 15, of Newton Flotman, is a Year 10 student at Hartismere School in Eye.
She said: “The proposals would leave 200 pupils from our school having to find alternative methods of transport.
“This would not only be costly, but bad for the environment and awkward for parents.
“Anything less than option three would leave Hartismere Academy the second-worst affected school in the county.
“A removal of the free school bus service would be catastrophically-damaging for many pupils in our school, as it would require many of them to move schools due to us accepting pupils from such a wide rural catchment area.
“By removing the free bus service to a child’s chosen school, you also remove their freedom of choice.
“This would leave friendship groups broken, school clubs and committees damaged and the school would be an entirely different place.
“The council would save so little money doing this, is it really worth the disruption, anger and sadness that these changes would bring?
“Another issue is that our sixth-form would probably have to shut down if these proposed changes went ahead.
“Many of my own friends would have to face leaving teachers they have a good relationship with and move to an entirely different school, with an entirely different ethos.”
Eleanor has voice her concerns only week’s after Hartismere School’s executive headmaster Jim McAtear described proposals on free school transport as “utterly shameless” in an open letter.
The consultation period ends on February 28.
To have your say, go online to www.suffolk.gov.uk/schooltravel.