Nigel has today written to the Education Secretary, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, to express his concern about the discrimination that some families face by having to pay for school transport. Mr Evans highlighted the examples of faith schools and the grammar school in his constituency.
Speaking from Westminster, Mr Evans said:
“It cannot be right that parents are penalised for sending their children to a faith school or indeed because their child has done very well and passed the entrance exam into a grammar school.
“In the Ribble Valley parents have come to see me about the travel to St Augustine’s school, which I raised in the House of Commons. Clearly there is also an issue with children travelling to Clitheroe Royal Grammar School as well.
“The situation is perhaps best highlighted by this example. Take two families in the village of Chipping both of whose children go to senior school in Longridge. The family who sends their children to Longridge High School will not pay for transport whereas the family that chooses St Cecilia’s because of their faith will need to pay around £450 per child per annum.
“Both sets of children will travel in the same minibus and the bus stops are 0.1 miles apart. In fact, the schools back onto to one another. I simply do not understand how the system that I have described is either fair or proportionate.
“I think that this is a serious issue and one that I have raised with Lancashire County Council for many years. I would now like the Department of Education to conduct a review of the cost of school transport because I cannot believe that the parents of the Ribble Valley are the only ones in the country affected.
“I look forward to hearing from Michael Gove and I sincerely hope that we can put an end to this unfair charge.”