Parents consider funding minibus for nine pupils facing school transport dilemma

Pupils in Orford are concerned about what will happen to their school transport for the next year Pi

Pupils in Orford are concerned about what will happen to their school transport for the next year Picture: CARL HUMPHREY - Credit: Archant

Pupils living in a Suffolk village are facing the prospect of travelling to school in a parent funded minibus.

Nine students living in Orford, all due to be attending Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge, have been told they are not able to get spare seats for the coming year.

Farlingaye is not the closest school for pupils living in Orford and so pupils are not entitled to free school transport.

Usually students attending the school from the village are able to purchase spare seats.

However, a lack of information from the Government surrounding school bus provision following the coronavirus outbreak has meant that Suffolk County Council is unable to offer spare seats.

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Carl Humphrey, one of the parents affected by the plans, has two children who will be going to the school this year.

His daughter, in Year 9 will be unaffected by the changes but his son who is due to be going into Year 7, will not be able to get a spare seat.

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Mr Humphrey said he had been told by the council that his son will have to get a public bus at 7am into Woodbridge, but which only stops at the Turban Centre, a 20 minute walk from the school.

In the evening he will have to wait for another public bus which won’t leave until after 5pm.

“I am not going to let him do that,” said Mr Humphrey.

Mr Humphrey said that he was frustrated that pupils in other towns might still be able to get transport to the school.

“When I lived in Melton, I had to walk,” said Mr Humphrey.

“But now there are coach loads that come from other places.”

Parents are now having to consider getting a minibus to help the pupils get to school.

Mary Evans cabinet member for education at Suffolk County Council said: “We are waiting for government guidance and we can’t start issuing spare seats if we don’t know exactly what we are going to be allowed to do on our buses.

“They have applied to go to a school that is not their nearest, there is a nearer school they could go to which would have funded travel.

“It is the parent’s responsibility to get their child to school.

“Ideally we will be able to get the information from the Government that says yes we will be able to offer spare seats but if not I am afraid the parents will have to get their child to school.”

MORE: School bus uncertainty for September as spare seats can’t be sold

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