DERBYSHIRE: Parent slams faith school proposals

Samuel 13, Christopher 10, Anna, 15, and Mary Forbes-Jones.
Samuel 13, Christopher 10, Anna, 15, and Mary Forbes-Jones.
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A mum has criticised controversial plans to axe free transport for faith school pupils across Derbyshire.

Derbyshire County Council is currently consulting on proposals to scrap funding for transport to religious schools.

If the plans are approved, pupils who currently attend a faith school would have to organise their own transport – saving the authority £1m a year.

Mum-of-three Mary Forbes-Jones, of Slayley View Road, Barlborough, slammed the proposals.

Mrs Forbes-Jones, whose children Anna and Samuel attend St Mary’s Catholic High School in Chesterfield, said: “I believe all parents should have a choice as to where their child is educated.

“The plans might mean that some parents may not be able to afford the transport costs and be forced to choose to send their children to a school closer to their home.

“The council is happy to publicise St Mary’s as being one of the top performing schools in the county – it’s just a pity they can’t match the hard work of staff, pupils and parents with some funding to ensure all parents have the right to continue to choose to send their children to a faith school.”

Cllr Kevin Gillot, cabinet member for children and younger adults, said the Government is forcing the council to cut £157m from its budget over the next five years.

He added: “I realise that many families are suffering as a result of the cost of living crisis and that this decision by the Government to cut the council’s budget only adds to those difficulties.”

The council’s consultation will end on December 2.

Pupils at the following schools may be affected by the controversial plans:

All Saints CE Primary School, Bakewell

Christ The King Catholic Primary School, Alfreton

Immaculate Conception Catholic Primary School, Spinkhill

Pilsley CE Primary School, Bakewell

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Matlock

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Shirebrook

St Mary’s Catholic High School, Chesterfield

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Chesterfield

To get involved in Derbyshire County Council’s consultation, log on to bit.ly/19DMOU