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Leigh Sinton mum's anger over £500 school travel costs
10:57am Friday 6th September 2013 in News
A LEIGH Sinton mum is angry that she will have to pay more than £500 for her son to get the bus to school this term.
Until now Derry Griffiths, aged 16, has been entitled to free travel between his home in the centre of the village and Dyson Perrins High School in Malvern.
But his mother Ashley Griffiths was taken aback when Worcestershire County Council told her that, starting this term, she would have to pay £547 a year if he wanted to continue catching the bus.
She said: “It’s a lot of money. If we can’t afford it, it means he’ll have to walk or cycle, which isn’t acceptable because the road into Malvern is unlit and has no footpath, or I’ll have to give him a lift every morning and evening.
“The Government has decided that pupils now have to stay on until they’re 18, unless they’ve got a job or an apprenticeship, so it seems unfair that we have to pay for this.
“I’m sure we’re not the only family in this position.”
In 2011 the council decided to only provide free transport as required by law.
Some assistance is provided for over-16s, but they have to live three miles or farther away from the school to qualify.
The family lives about a mile away from the school.
Coun Liz Eyre said: “We cannot offer all routes to all places, as that would be unaffordable.
“The Malvern example reflects the unaffordability of a total level of flexibility for all families – it’s a delicate balancing act to juggle flexibility with the best use of taxpayers’ money.
“We understand that financial pressures on parents and carers are tough during these economic times and we are doing everything we can to help support their children aged between 16 and 18 to access education or training.
“We are looking at additional options for 16 plus transport in Worcestershire.
“The county council has been involved in national research projects in collaboration with the Rural Access to Learning Group and campaigning for improvements to transport and access for young people.”
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