Sheffield faith school bus passes will go

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.
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Hundreds of children at Sheffield faith schools are set to have their discretionary free bus passes withdrawn from September.

But students preparing for exams at All Saints or Notre Dame schools in the next two years, and who meet criteria, will keep passes after Sheffield Council came up with a new phased option.

All such passes will cease completely after two years.

The council decided to discontinue the passes last year, saying it would save £250,000 a year towards multi-million pound cuts and protect frontline services.

But a second consultation was held after the controversial proposals sparked an outcry from parents – many of whom said there had not been a long enough consultation and the move was discriminatory – and went under further scrutiny.

Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “It is a difficult decision but what we’ve tried to do is protect those young people who are in their examination years. It’s not good, education-wise, for them to move schools.”

In the second consultation over 73 per cent of people disagreed with the passes being removed. Another 326 people said they believed the move would ‘prevent’ children from accessing places at faith schools in future.

Currently 1,034 families have the discretionary free bus passes. Around 477 of those pupils are now in Years 10 and 11, and keeping such passes for the next year will reduce the amount saved to £168,000.

Another £238,000 would be saved the following year.

The council cabinet is expected to approve the new option next Wednesday.

Passes would be withdrawn from September with the exception of pupils in Years 10 and 11 in 2013-14 and Year 11 in 2014-15.

An appeals process and free bus passes for low income families will remain.