Bus fee is an 'attack' on faith education, MP says

Rosie Cooper
Image caption Ms Cooper said parents should have the right to choose where their children go to school

Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has called plans to charge £380 a year for travel costs to faith schools amount to "an attack on faith education".

The county council said it could no longer afford these costs and has outlined plans for the extra charge to start next term.

For children who start at a faith school which is not their nearest school parents will be charged.

But Ms Cooper claimed this was "nonsense" and should be stopped.

The Labour MP for West Lancashire said the county council had made savings of £27m so claims it was short of money were not accurate.

'Fabric of society'

"What we are saying is you only get choice if you have the money to pay for it and that's not where we need to go.

"Parents and families choose a religious education and it's always been part of the fabric of UK society that you are able to chose to send your children to a faith school.

"For example in my constituency in Burscough there are Catholic infant and junior schools but no Catholic secondary school, so if you want your child to continue its Catholic education you have to go to Ormskirk or to Skelmersdale."

Both those schools are more than three miles away from the town.

There is a non-denominational secondary school in Burscough, so under new rules parents would have to pay for travel to the faith schools.

Students who already get free transport to a faith school will continue to do so for the time being.

The council said parents could appeal if there were "exceptional mitigating circumstances" for their application for school travel.

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