Unreasonably

I question your decision to devote most of last week's front page to the views of one person regarding the 'school bus protest'. More balanced journalism might

I question your decision to devote most of last week's front page to the views of one person regarding the 'school bus protest'. More balanced journalism might mention that many more feel that the council has acted unreasonably in its decision to withdraw denominational transport, not least in its reluctance to meet with service users to discuss the issues, and leaving families who had already submitted faith school applications for Sept 2008 in a very difficult position.As council tax payers, whether worshippers or not, we all have a democratic right to respond to council policy, particularly during a designated time of public consultation, and this need not be seen as religiously divisive. Obviously, most of those directly affected by this proposal are of one religious group; are they to have no voice? The council leader's dismissal of the views of over 300 of the 376 respondents in the public consultation is perhaps open to interpretation.The historical context of provision of denominational school transport is complex, and still very relevant, as reflected in the current Governmental guidelines to local authorities on home to school transport: 'The Secretary of State hopes that LAs (local authorities) will continue to think it right not to disturb well established arrangements, some of which have been associated with local agreements or understandings about the siting of denominational schools.' Approximately 75 per cent of authorities, including Bristol, provide free transport to faith schools, some others offer a subsidised service; North Somerset is offering none.Given the serious implications of this proposal for faith schools and families, failure to respond would be negligent when further discussion is clearly justified. As repeatedly requested, a meeting with the councillors would be welcomed, to negotiate a reasonable and cost-saving solution.C M Alexander - Cambridge Road, Clevedon


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