Post-16 transport ‘not just about money’

Lib Dem Julie Porksen launched a petition to oppose charges.
Lib Dem Julie Porksen launched a petition to oppose charges.

The consultation on potentially introducing transport charges for post-16 students has been a controversial one.

And while school transport does not fall specifically under head of children’s services, Coun Arckless’s remit, he has concerns about how the current policy can impact on the viability of Northumberland’s schools.

“I understand that in an ideal world, every young person would be able to go wherever they want, but this isn’t an ideal world,” he said.

“There has been a huge rise in costs and it’s not sustainable, but it isn’t just about the money; I worry about young people travelling to colleges out of their communities.

“If you take a substantial number out of the cohort of a high school, it has an impact on the viability of the sixth form. We need to help schools to develop new courses that are more attractive to young people.

“Northumberland taxpayers are paying a substantial amount for transport. We are always going to have a bigger bill for getting kids from home to school, but the scale of what we are dealing with is enormous.

“The more money you spend on transport, the less there is to spend on other educational resources.”