Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 6°C

Search

Suffolk headteachers attack plans to cut school bus services

PUBLISHED: 08:13 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:27 06 December 2017

Headteachers are set to 'rebel' against the home-to-school policy consultation launched by Suffolk County Council. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Headteachers are set to 'rebel' against the home-to-school policy consultation launched by Suffolk County Council. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Headteachers have spoken out against plans to cut school transport services as a consultation was launched into the plans.

Concerns remain that parents and schools will have to fork out the costs of the school transport overhaul in Suffolk. Stock picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO Concerns remain that parents and schools will have to fork out the costs of the school transport overhaul in Suffolk. Stock picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Suffolk County Council (SCC) is looking at potentially cutting £3million from the £21million home-to-school transport budget by scrapping bus services for hundreds of children, mainly in rural areas, who attend schools which are not the closest to their home.

After facing criticism, it agreed yesterday to a wider consultation offering a number of other options.

However, concerns remain that pupils and parents will suffer as a result.

Outside the meeting, Helen Wilson, headteacher at Thurston College, warned: “They say this will save £3m, but at best, it will save £200,000. Children will need to change schools – something we know, as an established fact, has a detrimental effect on outcomes.”

Headteacher at Bungay High School, Angelo Goduti, said: “The true cost will be significant and directly impact on the outcomes of Suffolk’s young people. Student numbers may reduce at many schools, which potentially means redundancies. Who will pay for that?”

Teachers and parents making their case against the proposed cuts to school transport. Picture: GREGG BROWN. Teachers and parents making their case against the proposed cuts to school transport. Picture: GREGG BROWN.

Legally, the council only has to provide transport to the nearest school.

The consultation will assess a number of scenarios: to ‘do nothing’, meaning savings would have to be found elsewhere, and an ‘incremental basis’, in which children who currently receive free transport would keep it but new starters would not.

It could also see staggered school opening times introduced so one bus could serve two, and using larger vehicles. ‘Local solutions’ are also being explored.

Councillor Gordon Jones, cabinet member for education, said: “I welcome hearing views – that’s why we are holding a consultation. I encourage Helen and anyone with opinions to fully engage in it.”

Councillor Jack Abbot, education spokesperson for the Labour group at the council, said: “If this council pushes ahead with these changes, it is likely to see the biggest rebellion of headteachers the county has ever seen.

“Unless the council is prepared to redraw entire admissions policies, at huge cost, children will be awarded places in schools they cannot even access.”

Consultation will run until February 28, and the changes will take effect in September 2019.

Starstruck pupils at a Suffolk primary school gasped and cheered as The Voice contestants Tania Hambleton and Ryan North treated the excited youngsters to a mini concert.

A Suffolk MP has demanded the Government pledge emergency cash to solve an ambulance crisis which whistleblowers claim has killed scores across the region.

These are the first photos of the completed new flagship branch for Ipswich Building Society.

A former Ipswich man who raped and sexually assaulted a schoolgirl has been jailed for 12 years.

Temperatures in Suffolk and Essex are forecast to rival Athens in Greece tomorrow as a spell of mild weather is set to continue.

A world-renowned female harpist has denied sexually abusing a schoolboy and told a trial that he sexually assaulted her while she was in the shower.

The mother of a man with Down’s Syndrome who died at the age of just 33 says she believes her son’s death was ‘wholly preventable’, an inquest has heard.

New chalet sites are to be created in Felixstowe for the first time in more than a decade as part of proposals to give more people the “beach hut experience”.

A driver whose car was found in a watery ditch in Suffolk remains unaccounted for – despite police searches involving a helicopter and dog units.

More than 14,000 motorists were caught speeding through Suffolk’s two sections of average speed cameras in 2017, it has been confirmed.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24