Changes made to school bus proposal

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FREE school transport to Mildenhall College of Technology (MCT) will be cut dramatically from 2013, however all Lakenehath students will now continue to be entitled to travel to the school for free.

The opening of Breckland Free School (BFS) has meant that from 2013 MCT’s catchment area will be almost halved and free transport to the Mildenhall school will no longer be provided for new students living in Brandon, Elvedon and the surrounding villages.

Following a consultation period Suffolk County Council has redrawn its initial plans, which would have seen only half of Lakenheath provided with free transport to MCT – with the other half of the village entitled only to free transport to BFS.

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council portfolio holder for education and young people, said: “We took the risk of splitting up the village – which would have split up groups of young people which is a big issue during periods of transition.”

Susan Byles, headteacher at MCT, said: “I’m pleased to see that they have listened to the views of the school community and the future parents in those areas and they have agreed to change from the initial plans.”

During the consultation period Suffolk County Council received 130 written responses, almost all against their initial proposal.

Ms Byles and MCT’s governors have taken the decision that rather than see parents’ choice reduced, they will supply transport to areas that find themselves outside the new catchment area.

MCT expects to lose about 60 students from each year group following the changes and Ms Byles has said that if it were not for the number of students the school attracted from outside their catchment area the size of the school may have had to be reduced.