Parents protest at end of free school bus transport

Essex schools transport cuts campaign group ANL-151205-142841001
Essex schools transport cuts campaign group ANL-151205-142841001

Parents from Gosfield and Wakes Colne joined a demonstration in Chelmsford on Tuesday against school transport cuts.

Around 70 parents demonstrated outside Essex County Council’s headquarters against new rules stipulating that free school transport is only given to students attending their most local school, and not their catchment school, if it is more than three miles away.

They also sat in the public gallery at a full council meeting when the new policy was being discussed.

Rob Frank, from Parkhurst Green Lane, Wakes Colne, said his wife, Louise, left unhappy that councillors refused to support a motion to postpone implementing the policy.

“My wife said it was a very disappointing meeting,” said Mr Frank. “With two children, I face paying around £700 each, every year, for their school transport.”

He added: “The council says it is going to save £2.5million by implementing it but, in future, parents will nominate their closest, rather than the catchment school, for their children, so we are not sure where the savings will come from.”

Parents complained they were not aware there had been any transport policy change, nor a consultation had taken place.

More than 2,000 parents signed a petition in protest.