Conservative county councillors clash in school transport plea

Suffolk County Council's cabinet discussed an appeal from Cllr Jane Storey over free school transport
Suffolk County Council's cabinet discussed an appeal from Cllr Jane Storey over free school transport
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Senior Conservative county councillors clashed over a bid to provide free transport for pupils to a college a year ahead of a planned catchement area change.

Jane Storey, former deputy leader of Suffolk County Council, appealed to members of the cabinet to go against officer recommendations and allow the service for 128 children living in Elmswell, Rattlesden and Woolpit to Thurston Community College from September.

She said: “The most vulnerable children in our society are those in low income families, the very families we are looking to disadvantage with this policy.” Liberal Democrat Penny Otton backed her.

The pupils live in part of the Stowupland High catchment area, which is being transferred to the college from 2014. They will be entitled to free transport to the college next year. The early move would cost £103,740.

Lisa Chambers, cabinet member for education, said Cllr Storey was ‘misleading’ in her comments about low income families who have ‘additional entitlements to free school transport’. She warned the move would ‘set a precedent’. The cabinet agreed not to implement the early move.