Council’s bus cut plans are ‘unfair’

St John Fisher Catholic High School.
St John Fisher Catholic High School.

The headteacher of a Catholic school is worried parents might have to move their children or face huge costs if its subsidised bus funding is cut.

Kevin Higgins from St John Fisher High School, Dewsbury, said the price faith schools would have to pay could be devastating if Kirklees Council removed its bus funding for pupils who travel from further afield.

He said: “It is those most in need who will be hit hardest. It is families with an income just high enough to ensure they are not eligible for the statutory subsidies that will be most badly affected. Hardworking families on low incomes will face the prospect of having to find several hundreds of pounds in order to enable their children to travel to school.”

He said he understood the financial difficulty the council was in but he said it was unfair that only Catholic schools would face the changes.

He also expressed concern about security and about more cars on being the road.

“I wonder where they would be if a kiddie got killed outside school if they did not have safe bus to travel on?” he said.

Of the 1,200 pupils at the school, which covers Drighlington to Chickenley, 460 use the buses and 205, who live further than three miles away, have subsidised passes.

Mr Higgins said if the service was removed it would affect all pupils who use the bus, not just those with passes.

Coun Graham Turner, cabinet member for resources, said: “We fully understand that this is a difficult time for the parents of those children that may be affected by any decision we take, and this is why we are entering in to a full consultation.”

The consultation will run January 27-March 27.