Stoke & Staffordshire

Free school buses to faith schools may be stopped

Free bus services to faith schools in Stoke-on-Trent could be scrapped, a council says.

Almost 600 children qualify for free bus travel to the city's six faith schools, even if they are not their closest ones.

A public consultation is to start next term and, if funding is cut, no changes will be implemented until September 2011, a spokesman said.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council said it would save nearly £1.5m.

In a statement, Councillor Debra Gratton, cabinet member for children and young people's services, said the council was reviewing its free transport services.

'Make savings'

Families on low incomes who qualify to use the services would still be eligible.

"We understand and appreciate the concern some parents will have over the proposals," she said.

"In line with other authorities who have found themselves in similar situations, we have to make a complete review of the free school transport policy, as we're forced to make continued savings from our budget.

"We would also like to reassure parents there will be no changes to the services available, it is only proposed charges which are under review."

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