Parents voice concerns as Wymondham High Academy scraps its late bus
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015
Parents say a Wymondham school's decision to scrap its late bus will leave rural children deprived of opportunities.
Wymondham High Academy, faced with funding cuts, is having to find £265,000 in savings and will recoup £22,000 a year by removing the late bus, which caters for children who stay on after the school day finishes.
Parents at the school have opposed the move, saying it could leave children stuck without a way home, parents forced to pay for taxis and children from rural areas unable to access after-school clubs and extra teaching support.
They point to sixth formers in particular, who often have extra lessons after the main school day ends, and the school's same-day after-school detention policy.
Headteacher Jonathan Rockey has said the late bus is not highly-used but that it could be reconsidered if planned extra government funding for schools materialised.
Alex Phillips lives in Wreningham, almost five miles away, and her two daughters regularly use the late bus for extra-curricular activities.
She said without the bus they would not have another realistic option of getting home.
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'In summer they might be happy to walk or bike, but not all year round and not with big books and folders,' she said.
'I work full time and we have limited public transport in the village, so our options are limited.'
She said families sympathised with the school's tight budget, but said removing the late bus created 'real equality issues' for rural families.
'The students are very proud to be a part of the school... They really invest in all areas of school life,' she said. 'It's a great school and it will be such a shame for it take this direction rather than continuing with inclusion for all.'
In a letter home, Mr Rockey recognised the disruption it may cause, but said parents would be expected to collect their children.
'Wymondham High has been very fortunate to be able to fund and protect late bus provision for a number of years,' he said. 'However, in the current financial landscape of serious funding reductions, we are no longer able to sustain the service.
'We are hoping that with the recent announcement of increased funding from the government that we can re-visit our funding decisions in 2018/19.'
The letter says a pay as you travel scheme had been considered for the bus, but was not considered viable.
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