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Parents set to pay for transport to faith schools
8:00am Saturday 14th September 2013 in News
PARENTS whose children go to faith schools will have to pay to get them there next year.
Thurrock Council cabinet members have decided to introduce transport charges after they were told they had to save £300,000 from their education transport budget in 2014/15.
The council will continue to provide travel arrangements for children, aged between five and 16, at a school between two and 15 miles from their home, whose parents have a wish for a particular school based on religious beliefs and where there is no other school available.
However, parents will be charged a flat rate fee.
More than 400 pupils currently use this transport.
In 2012/13 the council spent almost £480,000 on denominational transport, a figure it is looking to cut down.
The distance criteria for mainstream primary school children, aged between eight and 11, from a low income family was also discussed by cabinet members.
It was decided that those who live less than three miles from school will see no change to their existing policy. Currently 135 students fall into this bracket.
Cllr John Kent, leader of Thurrock Council, passed the proposal at last week’s cabinet meeting, with charges set for the start of September 2014.
A public consultation showed 72 per cent of parents wanted the transport to continue, but with a charging regime as opposed to it being cancelled altogether.
A scheme will be introduced by the council to help families with children at denominational schools for whom the charges will cause financial strain.
Schools with religious beliefs in Thurrock include Grays Covenant, Holy Cross Primary, Horndon Primary, Orsett Primary, St Josephs Primary and St Thomas of Canterbury Primary.
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