Lib Dems working on post-16 transport

Julie Porksen with Schools Minister David Laws MP.
Julie Porksen with Schools Minister David Laws MP.

Schools Minister David Laws MP has started work with north Northumberland post-16 campaigner Julie Pörksen to find a practical solution for transport for students.

As previously reported by the Gazette, Julie argued for an extension of the requirement for local councils to provide free transport to school and college to the end of Year 13 now that there is a legal duty on young people to remain in education or training at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow last week.

Schools Minister David Laws has made a commitment to work with Julie to find a solution and had their first session on this issue recently.

Following the meeting, Julie said: “David Laws said that he needs me to work alongside him on this issue. My experience of working with parents and young people, using school buses myself, being a mum and a school governor means that I can understand all the issues and can help devise really practical solutions.

“The Minister does appreciate that Northumberland is so rural that the transport problems are some of the worst in the country.

“During the Lib Dem conference, I heard from people across the country, not just in Northumberland, whose children are having their opportunities limited by the cost of transport, so I am pleased post-16 transport is getting national priority.

“Before our next meeting, David Laws has asked me to report on the types of transport available, distances and educational establishments available to Northumbrian students so that we can devise the practical solutions needed. If any young person, parent, school or transport provider wants to contribute their view, please contact me and I will add to the evidence I already have.”

Julie is asking for comments to be returned by early November to julie@berwicklibdems.org.uk