By Sam Rkaina and Dan Evans
COUNCILLORS have approved the scrapping of free transport for children attending faith schools, starting next year.
The city council’s ruling cabinet has recommended phasing out the service from September 2012, so those who currently use it will still be able to for the next school year.
Costing more than £440,000 a year, the council provides free travel for all students attending their nearest faith school if it is beyond walking distance – more than two miles from a primary or three miles from a secondary.
The service is provided to all, regardless of family income, even though there may be other nearer schools.
At a meeting on Thursday Councillor Clare Campion-Smith, the cabinet councillor responsible for education, said: “This is a privilege that has been afforded to faith schools for a long time – forgood reason – but we now feel it should be removed.”
She said much of the consultation was against the proposal, but the majority of people consulted opposed the change but emphasised that children with parents on low incomes would still get free travel to school.