BRIDLINGTON parents who send their children to Driffield School may have to think again, as a halt in council funding will see their transport bills rise by more than a third.
East Riding Council currently subsidises the 121 EYMS service which takes Bridlington children to the school, but says that because there will not be any entitled students using the service from this September, it will be withdrawing the subsidy.
This means that parents who are used to paying £180 per year for the service, will instead have to pay £95 per term - a total of £285 annually - when the next academic year starts in September.
For Bridlington families with more than one child using the bus, the increase could see them having to find hundreds of extra pounds every year to get their children to school. As one concerned parent, Mandy Singh of Horsforth Avenue, explains: “From what I am hearing, there are now a lot of parents thinking of pulling their kids out of the school, especially ones who have more than one child there.
“It would have been better if they could have given us some time to get used to the increase, perhaps increased it slowly over the years, rather than whacking it up by £100 and just saying, ‘get on with it’.
“I am lucky that I only have one son going to the school and we will just have to try and find the extra from somewhere, but what about those who have two or three using the bus?
“Things are getting tighter, people are watching their cash a bit more and we are in an area where there is a fair amount of unemployment and people are struggling.”
Mandy is lobbying the council to re-instate the subsidy, or at least stagger the increase, and is launching a petition which she hopes all the Bridlington parents will support.
“I believe there are about 123 Bridlington children who go to the school and I would like to hear from all the parents so that we can collectively protest about this.
“Obviously we choose to send our children to Driffield, and we don’t mind paying the transport, but we were never warned that this increase was going to happen - we are completely unprepared for it.”
A spokesperson for East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: “The council reviewed this service in spring and it was decided to withdraw funding from September as there are no entitled students currently using the service and the council does not have the authority to subsidise a homes to school route for non-entitled students.
“East Riding of Yorkshire Council has spoken with the schools and has ensured that adequate transport continues to be available.”
‘Entitled’ students can mean those with parents on certain benefits or children with learning difficulties, among other criteria.
Elaine Collinson, extended schools manager at Driffield School said she understood parents’ concerns about the increase and has worked with the bus company to get the best deal for parents: “We were approached by the local authority when the decision was made to cease funding this bus,” she said.
“We were asked as a school to take over the management of the service and that is what we are attempting to do.”
She added: “Driffield School is doing its best to make sure that there is a bus that is sustainable for the long term, and costs are kept as down as they can be.
“As a school, our concern is about the children at this school and their education. If they have chosen to come to this school, we want them to continue to do so - continuity of education is probably the prime concern of the parents as well.”
Local families affected by this issue can support Mandy’s petition by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.