Bedford Borough Council has made a recent policy decision to vastly reduce the subsidy for the school transport for 6th form students. Following the result of the ridiculous Hobson’s choice consultation – the choice of accepting this rise or scrapping the subsidy altogether – the Council Executive have voted to raise the school bus fee for 6th former’s from £381.90 to a staggering £890 per student per year which, almost certainly affect students from Souldrop and its surrounding area.
The reason given is the cuts in local authority funding by the current central government which means that they are required to make addition savings (C £2.1m). Recently, the same government introduced legislation requiring all children to stay in some form of education until they are 18.
With few apprenticeship or other options available to children in our area, and many children looking to use 6th form as a steppingstone to university, this policy is a grossly unfair as it penalises local rural families.
Martyn Wady is coordinating a campaign centered on Risely but also including all north Bedfordshire villages affected.
“With few apprenticeship or other options available to children in our area, and many children looking to use 6th form as a steppingstone to university, this policy is a grossly unfair as it penalises local rural families
This policy puts students in rural areas at an educational disadvantaged in comparison with other children in the borough and therefore it is my intention to challenge this policy change on the grounds of discrimination. With the changes due to take effect from September, time is of the essence”
Martyn added “I am planning a campaign to have this policy overturned and we have the support of many local residents, the constituency Labour Party and the Riseley Conservative Ward Councillor”
The campaign actions will include:
- · Organising an online petition
- · Organising a written petition
- · Target mailing the mayor
- · Target mailing Alistair Burt
- · Raising the issue in the press
· Generally raising awareness to residents in catchment (Sharnbrook) locations
Martyn urges the affected people bring this up in their local council meetings which he hopes will offer to support the campaign and be able to offer local assistance and contacts that will be needed.