Rescue Our Schools has been approached by the BBC about Ofsted inspections following this story that…
We would like to hear from parents who struggle with getting their children to school due to transport costs. Read this example of a council who have no regard for this issue.
Suffolk County Council was happy to be seen as an ideological test bed when Free schools were the new show in town, even though they knew they would end up with a significant surplus of secondary schools and secondary school places. So they ended up providing transport in order for pupils to have a choice between catchment and free schools, as “choice” was the whole point of allowing the free schools in the first place. Now they claim to be providing ‘more than the legal minimum’ in school transport, and want to make savings. So the established catchment schools will be paying the price in lost pupils. Not to mention the lost opportunities for pupils who should be attending schools large enough to provide a broad curriculum.
The council have the results of their consultation on changes to school transport: an overwhelming “NO”. Yet they persist in the idea that getting children to school by bus is some kind of luxury. It’s not. It’s not only essential educationally, it’s the only practical and environmentally-sustainable way to get thousands of children to school in a rural county. Unless, of course their ultimate plan is that all people of school age live in the middle of town ….and villages become dormitories for the rich and retired.
It should be the council paying the consequences of the Free School experiment, not the schools or parents.