Concern over school bus cut

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THE WEALD School at Billingshurst is encouraging parents to speak out over West Sussex County Council plans to cut a late bus service for schools.

The county council is conducting a consultation about the withdrawal of funding for late buses to schools which are used by pupils who stay for after-school clubs.

Headteacher Peter Woodman has sent out a letter to every parent of a pupil at the school about the cuts and so far there have been 143 responses.

He said: “I have discovered that Sussex is in the bottom five per cent of counties funded nationally. I have made it clear in the letter to parents that the removal of the bus service is a tax on families in rural locations.

“We draw students from over 190 square miles. If the funding is withdrawn we have to get the money ourselves.

“I do understand budget cuts but if you live in Worthing, for example, you can get the local bus after school. It does seem unfair that there’s an expectation on rural schools to provide a bus service.”

At the moment the county council is not obliged to provide the service, which sees late buses operating three days a week between Tuesday and Thursday.

If the service goes, schools could be charged for the facility from as early as March.

In the letter to parents, Mr Woodman said: “Given the scope of cuts that all schools in West Sussex and indeed England, are facing, we face the real possibility that we will not be able to fund late buses from the school budget.

“Responses to the proposal will be considered by the cabinet member for education, Peter Griffiths.

“If you as a parent, student or staff member have a concern about the potential loss of this service, please email buses@theweald.org.uk by 10am next Friday 14 January.

“We will forward responses to Ian Gwenlan, principle school transport officer, next Friday, for the attention of Peter Griffiths.”

To read the full story, buy a copy of this week’s County Times,

If you’re likely to be affected by the proposals write your comments below or email ct.letters@sussexnewspapers.co.uk