Post-16 cuts prove a real pain for Bassingbourn parent as travel costs go up
- Credit: © Royalty-Free/CORBIS
A Bassingbourn mother who is getting ready to send her daughter off to sixth-form college in September has spoken out about the frustration of cuts to travel subsidies which are set to be introduced in the new school year.
Jane Holcroft says she cannot understand the reasoning for Cambridgeshire County Council withdrawing all subsidies for travel to post-16 education providers.
The change means she will have to find about £1,000 a year for travel costs to send her daughter Isobel to the nearest sixth form provision at Comberton Village College.
She said: “Heading to Comberton they are not travelling out of county, it is the nearest provider geographically, and, one would presume, students should receive some help to get to school as there are no public transport links.
“I am so frustrated and don’t know how they can justify such a poorly constructed policy and adopt such an illogical justification.
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“How on earth does the council imagine it is justifiable to charge parents £1,000 for a child to travel to their nearest school I just don’t know.
“They say there are subsidies for low income families, which is fine – but what about everyone else?
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“The response I got was ‘no one has to go to school, they can do an apprenticeship – staying at school is your option.’
“Firstly, an apprenticeship would probably involve travel costs as well and in any case sending my child to the nearest school, that also happens to be her choice, should not be treated in such a poorly considered and discriminatory fashion.”
A county council spokesman said: “The council has had to make some very difficult decisions in light of the continued significant financial pressures it faces.
“Councillors have taken the decision to limit financial support for post-16 transport to young people.
“However, the council will continue to provide financial support for young people living in low-income households who meet the criteria set by the council and attend the school or college which the council has assessed as being their nearest appropriate centre.”
County councillor Susan van de Ven, who as part of her role has campaigned for affordable transport for post-16s, said: “I am very concerned, both about the increasing financial burden on families whose children need to complete their education and the effect it will have on congestion on the roads if more people opt to drive children to school.
“It’s a very real problem. To support young people through their education is fundamentally important.”
If you need more information about the changes and how they may effect you, go to the council’s website at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/post16edtransport.