EDUCATION bosses will look again at cuts to York school buses, after dozens of parents and staff attended a meeting this afternoon.
Plans to withdraw free school buses from 123 pupils of faith schools in York had been drawn up by the authority in an effort to save £100,000 a year, [see earlier report here] but parents told the meeting the changes would lead to children being exposed to increased risks using public transport.
Christine Vaughan, whose eight-year-old daughter attends Manor School from Askham Bryan, told the meeting: “My daughter is very worried about getting to school and believes she is going to have to walk to the A64 down unlit country roads at 7am. I wouldn’t even let her walk through our village at that time, because we have no street lighting.”
As well as a number of parents, head teachers from Manor, All Saints and St Wilfred’s schools spoke at the meeting, and told the Councillor Janet Looker - cabinet member for education, children and young people - that the suggestion services could be cut as early as this September did not leave enough time for proper consultation.
Many also felt that the changes, if implemented quickly, would lead to disruption for pupils currently studying for their GCSEs, who may be forced to change schools by the changes.
Following representations from the group, Coun Looker said the cuts had to come from somewhere, but decided the decision would benefit from further examination by the council.
Coun Looker told the meeting: “I can always make difficult decisions, but I like to make them from solid platforms and tonight I do not feel the platform is there.”
Speaking after the meeting, she said: “I was very impressed with the representations that were made. The parents were very good at giving some inside detail into their circumstances and the three heads made very cogent points, which we will now be looking at.”
Manor head teacher Brian Crosby said after the meeting: “We will wait to hear but if this decision goes ahead what you are going to get is many hundreds of parents writing and campaigning.
“There are more pressing issues than stopping something that is so precious, such as our school transport system. It shouldn’t even be on the agenda.”