Chiefs set to pass faith school plans

County Hall, Matlock.County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.
Council chiefs are set to approve controversial plans to axe free transport for faith school pupils across Derbyshire.

Last October, Derbyshire County Council launched a consultation on proposals to scrap funding for transport to religious schools.

The plans look likely to be approved by councillors at a meeting next Tuesday – meaning pupils who currently attend a faith school would have to organise their own transport from July 2016, saving the authority £1m a year.

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The council will, however, set aside £100,000 to help less well-off families to receive free travel or for those who are isolated and have no other transport available.

Councillor Kevin Gillot, cabinet member for children and young adults, said: “Sadly we have no choice but to consider these changes because of the £157m cuts the Government has told us to make over the next five years.

“The sheer scale of these budget cuts mean we have to make some very difficult decisions.

“I recognise the impact that this decision, if agreed, would have on families both financially and in terms of their choice of school.

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“However we are committed to helping parents and the proposals include setting up a fund to help families who would be particularly disadvantaged by these changes.

“We want to work with schools and bus operators across the county to provide whatever possible support we can if these changes have to be made.”

Pupils at 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, and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Chesterfield, look set to be affected.