Parents urged to speak up

A HEADTEACHER is urging parents to make themselves heard on plans to change home-to-school transport arrangements.

Christine Inchley, from Stour Valley Community School in Clare, wants parents to actively take part in Suffolk County Council’s consultation to amend its school transport for pupils at free schools or newly-created academies.

The authority wants to change the present system – based on catchment areas – where students are eligible for free transport based on how close they live to school.

However, “free schools” do not follow this approach and the council is seeking a new way to decide which children qualify for transport.

Mrs Inchley said: “Transport is key for us as we take pupils from around 30 primary schools in the area and lots of children from Sudbury and Long Melford.

“The consultation is a positive thing as they are trying to get everyone’s view, but we have to make sure any changes are fair.”

The council is proposing to create new “transport priority areas” where there are free schools, but Mrs Inchley said new boundaries could upset parents.

“This is something that parents are worried about and it could be that pupils who are already here can get to school for free, but their younger siblings cannot and that could create friction for parents,” she said.

The consultation is due to close on June 1 and public meetings to discuss the issue are being held at the Stour Valley Community School in Cavendish Road on Wednesday and at Sudbury Upper School on May 22. Both meetings will run from 7pm to 9pm.

Comments received as part of the consultation will be reported to the county council’s cabinet when it meets in July, with any new arrangements expected to be introduced in September.

To comment on the plans, go to www.suffolk.gov.uk/consultations.

For the full story see this week’s Free Press.