Post-16 motion rejected, but fight will go on

Post 16 transport charge protestors gather outside the Duchess's High School in Alnwick.'Picture Jane Coltman
Post 16 transport charge protestors gather outside the Duchess's High School in Alnwick.'Picture Jane Coltman

A north Northumberland councillor has said he will continue to put pressure on over post-16 transport, following last week’s failed motion.

As reported in last week’s Gazette, Northumberland County Council rejected a motion by Wooler member, Coun Anthony Murray, calling for a comprehensive review of how the new post-16 policy has affected young people at the December meeting of the council.

Protesters at the post-16 transport meeting at County Hall.

Protesters at the post-16 transport meeting at County Hall.

It was voted down as the Labour administration said that the changes were already being monitored via the correct channels and the motion was trying to alter the council’s due process.

The new policy is already scheduled to go before the council’s family and children’s services scrutiny committee in November.

Reflecting on the failed motion this week, Coun Murray told the Gazette: “I rather expected it would be rejected.

“But I think the good that will come from it is that they will keep working on what impact it’s having on our young people.

“I got a fair hearing and I can’t ask for more than that and we may get a full picture in December of its true effect.

“The whole thing has been dealt with in a chaotic manner. I mentioned two cases at the meeting and I dealt with another yesterday.

“We can sort them out, but this should never have happened in the first place.

“The cases are going to keep coming up as people are only realising now the problems they are faced with.

“I will continue to pressurise, pressurise, pressurise to see if we can’t get post-16 transport subsidised once again, if not with this current administration, then perhaps with a future administration.”

Meanwhile, Coun Ian Swithenbank said: “Our staff have worked hard over the summer to explain the new transport arrangements and to help parents with their applications. This will continue over the coming weeks.

“Any parents who have any concerns about their individual case should contact our school transport team, which will be very happy to help. Now we have started a new school term, we will continue to monitor the new arrangements to review the effects of the policy change.”

Contact the school transport team on 01670 624839.