Council accused of discrimination over plans to cut transport to faith schools

A REVEREND and his wife have accused North Somerset Council of discrimination over its controversial plans to cut transport to faith schools.

A REVEREND and his wife have accused North Somerset Council of discrimination over its controversial plans to cut transport to faith schools.

Rev John Hayward and his wife made the accusation in a letter to the Weston and Somerset Mercury this week.

Councillors approved 'in principle' cuts to the service at a meeting of the Executive which could mean all school transport to faith schools will be phased out over the next few years.

They have been accused of 'reneging on an election promise' to safeguard the service.


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The changes are being put forward by unitary authority leader Cllr Nigel Ashton to plug a funding gap of £17millon over the next two years.

But Rev Hayward and his wife Margaret say they are 'appalled' by the proposals.

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They wrote: "It seems to us that it is a discriminatory move aimed at our religious beliefs.

"We wonder if North Somerset Council were asked what they do for the local children could they reply with dignity and pride 'We maintained transport to faith schools thereby enabling those whose particular faith required it to attend an appropriate school?'

"Or will they reply with regret and shame 'we withdrew transport and it impossible for those of a particular faith to attend an appropriate school?'

"We implore the council to consider again and allow our children and those of the future to receive an education supported by their faith."

Currently 253 pupils get free transport to a faith school, such as Corpus Christi in Weston, which costs £261,000 per year.

Parents, teachers and school governors are being asked their views on the plans to scrap free transport for faith school pupils.

Once the consultation period has ended on December 6, councillors will decide whether to start phasing out the free transport in September next year.

People can email their views to cyps.consultations.n-somerset.gov.uk, complete the online questionnaire at www.consult.n-somerset.gov.uk or call 01275 884078.

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