Hampshire & Isle of Wight

School alleges flaws in Isle of Wight travel survey

Governors of an Isle of Wight faith school have formally asked the council to halt a review into students' travel "without delay".

The council is consulting on ending its blanket subsidy of free travel to Christ the King College.

But the school's chairman of governors, David Lisseter, said the questions in the consultation survey were "biased".

Steve Beynon, Isle of Wight Council's chief executive, said parents would have "ample opportunity" to contribute.

Mr Lisseter wrote to the council on Monday, alleging a "bias in questions" in the survey as there is no option to request for the existing situation to continue.

'Flawed and incorrect'

The school has also mapped the arrangements of students travelling by bus.

Mr Lisseter said: "Our evidence strongly suggests that the financial and statistical data quoted in the consultation papers and on which, therefore, you are asking the public to make judgements is flawed and incorrect."

He concluded: "We sincerely hope that you feel able to halt this process without delay."

The college has more than 900 pupils and is the island's only faith school, merged from Catholic and Church of England schools.

The consultation opened on 9 May but the timeline has been revised to close on 4 July.

Chris Whitehouse, a father of a pupil at the school, said the length of the original consultation timetable "would have been unlawful".

He claimed the amended timeline still breached the government's code of practice, which states: "Consultations should normally last for at least 12 weeks."

'Ample opportunity'

A council spokesman denied the consultation was unlawful.

He said: "It was amended by officers so the formal consultation process could be carried out during the summer term."

Mr Beynon said: "Free travel to faith schools will however remain for those who qualify by law, i.e. those of secondary age range who live between two and 15 miles of their faith school and are from low income families."

But Mr Whitehouse said complaints related to the process, not the recommendations.

Mr Beynon said: "Those with an interest will have ample opportunity to make their views known either in person, in writing or online."

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