School bus cuts labelled crazy

A LEADING Suffolk teaching union today labelled secret discussions to slash transport subsidies for 16 to 18-year-olds as “crazy and short-sighted”.As exclusively revealed in The Evening Star on Tuesday, policy-makers at Suffolk County Council are considering the controversial move in a bid to cut costs at the cash-strapped authority.

A LEADING Suffolk teaching union today labelled secret discussions to slash transport subsidies for 16 to 18-year-olds as “crazy and short-sighted”.

As exclusively revealed in The Evening Star on Tuesday, policy-makers at Suffolk County Council are considering the controversial move in a bid to cut costs at the cash-strapped authority.

Around a quarter of the 10,345 students aged between 16 and 18 currently in education could be left hundreds of pounds out of pocket if the plans are agreed.

Currently, 2,200 students living three or more miles from their place of learning pay around £300 annually for school transport with the remaining £300 being met by the county council.


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The move could make savings of more than £600,000.

But Keith Anderson, secretary of the Suffolk branch of the National Association Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), blasted the proposals.

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He said: “It seems a bit crazy when we are encouraging schools in Suffolk to give further opportunities and provide a wider choice for students.

“In the 14 to 19 agenda, students have an opportunity to be in training and be in different vocational courses, meaning those students will be travelling to colleges or other sixth form centres.

“And in a rural county like Suffolk our students have to travel.

“It seems to be extremely short-sighted and does not fit with the changes going on in education at the moment.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said no decisions had been taken about changes to transport subsidies.

He added: “All our budget proposals will be published next week and no decisions will be taken until February next year.

“Our decision will be based on what areas of savings and expenditure across the whole council represents the best value for council tax payers.”

What do you think of the proposals? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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