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‘You remove their freedom of choice’ - why consultation into Suffolk school transport should be dropped

PUBLISHED: 12:53 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:00 23 January 2018

A schol bus. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

A schol bus. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

Suffolk County Council plans to cut its spending on free school bus passes would leave 200 pupils from our school having to find alternative methods of transport.

This would not only be costly, but bad for the environment and awkward for parents. Your council proposes three options - one, which would be an immediate withdrawal of funding for free school bus passes, allowing the child free transport only to their nearest school.

Two, which would be exactly the same, only in a few years time, and three, keep the funding for buses available and as they are now.

By removing the free bus service to a child’s chosen school, you also remove their freedom of choice. This would leave friendship groups broken, school clubs and committees damaged and the school would be an entirely different place.

MORE: Headteacher brands council proposal to cut school transport budgets as ‘utterly shameless’

Hartismere has an incredible set of teachers, bright and hardworking students and an Ofsted outstanding report, as well as GCSE and A-level results that are well above average. I personally love studying there and couldn’t imagine myself moving anywhere else, particularly not in the middle of my GCSEs.

Besides, the council would save so little money doing this, is it really worth the disruption, anger and sadness that these changes would bring?

Another issue is that our sixth-form would probably have to shut down if these proposed changes went ahead. Many of my own friends would have to face leaving teachers they have a good relationship with and move to an entirely different school, with an entirely different ethos.

They would have to get used to the ways in which their new teachers teach, have to make new friends, whilst still achieving consistently high exam grades, without the support they had been given since year seven.

MORE: School transport shake-up in Suffolk will force parents and schools to take cash hit

Those only just settling in would face a massive change and those preparing and practising for their GCSEs - one of the biggest landmarks in anyone’s life - would have to face the daunting prospect of entering a new community.

While our headmaster Mr McAtear is doing everything he can to campaign against these changes, we need your full support to keep our bus services running - and retaining one of a child’s basic rights, to be able to go to a school of their choosing.

Eleanor is a pupil at Hartismere School, in Eye.

MORE: More than 4,600 people sign petition urging council to drop consultation into school transport

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