Suffolk

Suffolk school transport: Hundreds left without bus passes

Hayley Nunn and William
Image caption Hayley Nunn and her 10-year-old son William were one of hundreds of families left without bus school bus passes

Hundreds of pupils were left without bus passes for the first day of the new school year.

Suffolk County Council said about 2,500 bus passes were posted out on Tuesday, with over 600 applications outstanding.

Councillor Gordon Jones said those who applied on time and were entitled to transport "have received confirmation".

But parent Hayley Nunn, said: "The policy doesn't work and the systems aren't in place to support it."

"The communication isn't there and no-one is owning the problem", she added.

Ms Nunn's 10-year-old son William was able to get the bus the two and half miles (4km) from their home in Felsham to Rattlesden Primary School, despite her not receiving his pass.

She said: "I would love the council to start embracing our rural communities, so we don't have to feel like we're being targeted all the time."

'Shambolic'

This is the first year of a new school transport policy at the Conservative-run council where families are only eligible for funded transport to their nearest school if it is two miles or more away.

Of the outstanding applications, 152 had been submitted on time but the council said they could only be allocated after GCSE results had been published and the number of pupils staying on for sixth form were known.

Image caption Many parents had to drive their children to school as they were unable to get the bus without their pass

A further 530 outstanding applications were put in after the 31 May deadline, including 185 received between 27 and 30 August according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Labour councillor Jack Abbott said: "We warned that this policy was fundamentally flawed, but no-one could've have predicted such a shambolic implementation."

But Mr Jones, the councillor responsible for education, said: "Lessons are being learnt all the time and we will be making adjustments and improvements to the process in preparation for future years."

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