Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry pupils could lose free travel to school

Children travelling to school in Coventry may lose free bus passes under new proposals.

Coventry City Council must provide free transport to children if their nearest school is more than three miles away or if their family is on a low income.

But the council also provides discretionary free travel to some of the city's Catholic and single sex schools, which it may now scrap.

The council has estimated discretionary travel costs £278,898 a year.

Consultation will end at midnight on whether the council should withdraw funding free transport to faith schools and single sex secondary schools.

The cuts would affect children living more than three miles from their school who are new pupils in September 2012.

The schools that could be affected are Blue Coat Church of England School, Bishop Ullathorne, Cardinal Newman and Cardinal Wiseman Catholic Schools, The Woodlands School (Boys) and Tile Hill Wood School (Girls).

'Council's duty'

Chris Mulley, from the Coventry Diocesan Board of Education, said: "It's really important for families who believe in a faith to be able to send their children to the school that they prefer.

"A local authority has a duty to look at fair access for children to be able to attend schools that their parents prefer them to go to."

But the council said it has a duty to ensure that spending is focused on its priorities.

The current cost of an annual pass for parents is £220.50 or £225 per year depending on which transport provider they use to get their child to school.

The council said some governors of those schools being considered were discussing plans to continue to provide free bus passes for children living over three miles from their school if the service was withdrawn.

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