Plans by Bradford Council to cease paying for transport for children in faith schools continue to cause upset amongst the Catholic community.
In an attempt to find savings, Bradford Council is consulting on plans to cease paying for transport for children in Catholic schools, leaving parents from St. Mary’s, Menston and its feeder primary schools with an unforeseen financial burden.
By law, all children who have to travel more than 3 miles to school (2 if aged under 8) are entitled to receive free transport with the new proposals meaning that all new pupils in ‘faith schools’ will no longer receive this. In this area, this will only affect children who will go to Catholic schools.
Mrs Caroline Hyde, Chair of the Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust has been in regular correspondence with Bradford Council regarding the plans, expressing her grave concerns about the adverse effects of the proposals. The Catholic communities of Addingham, Burley and Ilkley have since raised a petition indicating their opposition to the proposals which they feel will treat Catholic families differently to those attending other state schools within the area.
Since the petition was presented, Mrs Hyde has been invited to address the full Bradford Council at a meeting to be held on Tuesday 25 March along with other representatives from the Trust.
Mrs Hyde said:-
“I am really grateful that the Council have given us the opportunity to raise this issue with them directly. Parents understand the immense financial pressures on local councils at the moment. However this is a poorly thought through proposal with little clarity about how savings will actually be made. Parents who cannot afford to pay nearly £400 a year per child may have to send their children to other already over full schools, such as Ilkley Grammar. Other local children will then be sent to schools further away – and the council will have to pay for their travel. This proposal will only save money if Catholic families are able to pay, effectively a tax on Catholic families.”