Bus worry for March parents

PETITIONING parents are calling on Cambs County Council to re-think a school bus subsidy cut.

Around 30 children from March travel to the St John Fisher Catholic High School in Peterborough and parents are facing a transport problem after finding out the subsidy is to be axed in 2014 as part of cost cutting.

The parents have launched a petition which they hope to present to the county council. They are also looking at ways of getting their children to the city school because they don’t want to have to change schools.

Parents currently pay £500 a year for a seat on the bus, which has been subsidised for many years, and they are happy to carry on paying.

Mum Hannah Orbell said parents had not been officially notified about the cut and she fears it may be too late to change anything.

The parents are appealing to bus companies who might be able to help and are also looking into the possibility of joining with parents of pupils at Peterborough’s King’s School who travel by train.

The current bus drops the children at the gates of the John Fisher school which gives parents peace of mind.

“The petition is from the parents because we feel very strongly about this,” said Hannah.

She added: “As parents, we are all very happy with the school and want our children to continue their education there, however, if the bus is cancelled many people will have no option but to move their children elsewhere.

“It is also a worry for many parents of younger children living in March who want to send them to St John Fisher but are now concerned that they will be unable to transport them to Peterborough.”

In response, the county council has said: “Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet agreed in March 2011 to phase out the subsidies for transport to and from denominational schools gradually until July 2014.

“Parents have a right to express a preference to attend a faith school, but the council does not have a statutory duty to provide transport subsidies for pupils travelling to denominational schools.

“Neighbouring authorities including Peterborough, Central Bedfordshire and Lincolnshire have taken similar action and already withdrawn denominational transport subsidies.”

If you are interested in contacting the parents email Hannah at email: kittyscrafts@googlemail.com