England

Tamworth Catholics fight plan to stop free school bus

  • 15 June 2010
  • From the section England

Parents in Staffordshire claim they are being discriminated against by plans to stop running free faith school buses.

St Francis of Assisi Catholic Technology College, Walsall, serves children from Lichfield and Tamworth, plus the West Midlands.

Staffordshire County Council said it was unfair to offer free transport to children of one faith only.

Lisa Smith, of Parents Against Cutting Catholic Transport, said the alternative was a three-hour commute.

'Only option'

Ian Parry, deputy leader of Staffordshire County Council, said in the current economic climate he was under pressure to review all spending and wanted to address an unfair situation where Catholic families had their school transport paid for by the council while children from other families did not.

"This is nothing to do with faith in that sense, it's about justifying something that we think is unjustifiable," he added.

Mrs Smith, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, said she wanted her children to be educated in a Catholic environment, but removing the school bus would make that option non-viable.

"If there was a closer Catholic school then I would use that, but this is our only option.

"When they stop the buses in 2015, my kids will face a journey that will involve getting three buses, taking over an hour and a half every morning and evening."

She said she had started a petition and collected hundreds of signatures from parents opposed to removing the free school bus service.

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