Despite having no children who will require school transport under the new charges scheme for Post 16 School Transport, I remain concerned for those families who do.
I am especially dismayed to hear that contrary to the press statement by Northumberland County Council that students who live in rural areas without access to public transport will receive free transport. This ruling will only be applied if students attend the school classed as catchment by County Hall.
This is simply unfair.
Access to life-long learning at the critical stage of Post-16 education should not be hampered by transport costs.
Typically, curriculum subjects offered within our schools aren’t always appropriate to individuals who might wish to attend more job skill focused courses, for instance at Kirkley Hall or Ashington College or Newcastle College.
Just because these young people live in rural areas they shouldn’t be forced to compromise their choice of education based on costs – travel time is already a major problem and they deserve all the support we can offer.
This remains a classic case of enforced rural deprivation and will only result in further migration from the rural communities.
And why are some of our schools offering proportionately more discount bursaries to students attending their schools?
Why will it cost more for students to attend The King Edward VI School in Morpeth?
What happened to free education and equal access to all?