Pupils over the age of seven who live three or more miles away from the school designated for their area currently receive free transport to the school. But, from September 2015, children starting secondary school will only receive free transport if they go to their geographically closest available school – even if it is not designated for their area.Ooops!
This decision has left parents of primary school age children in Hullbridge with a tough choice as the deadline approaches for selecting a secondary school. Hullbridge is in the catchment area of the Sweyne Park School, in Rayleigh, with the majority of children in the village travelling there by bus, but the FitzWimarc School, also in Rayleigh, is the closest to the village.And this has been announced so late, it’s causing issues:
Becky Chaplin, 42, of Thorpedene Avenue, has one child in Year 6 and another in Year 5, meaning she could soon have to fork out nearly £600 a year for them to get to school.
She said: “The news is all over Facebook and parents are up in arms about it. “We have to decide on school applications by the end of October, but the news came out so late, some people may have missed the FitzWimarc open evening because they automatically thought their child was going to go to Sweyne Park.
“It has made an already tough decision even tougher as it is a lot of money to consider.”I’m sure the council has realised its error and will be… Oh.
Essex County Council’s councillor responsible for education and lifelong learning, Ray Gooding, said: “The new policy is aimed at ensuring fairness and consistency countywide, as well as delivering much-needed savings in these times of austerity.
“We will continue to fulfil all of our statutory responsibilities on school transport.
“There is no basis for making an exception in the case of Hullbridge and the policy will be fairly applied to all Essex residents.”/facepalm