DERBYSHIRE: Headteachers slam faith school travel plans

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Controversial plans to axe free transport for faith school pupils across Derbyshire have come under fire.

Derbyshire County Council has launched talks on proposals to scrap funding for transport to religious schools.

If the plans are approved, pupils who currently attend a faith school would have to organise their own transport – saving the authority £1m a year.

The council, which must make cuts of £157m in the next five years, admitted the proposals were “disappointing”.

Maria Dengate, deputy headteacher at St Mary’s Catholic High School in Chesterfield, said: “We are opposed to this proposed change. We’ll be trying our very best to campaign against it and would urge all parents to engage with the consultation process.”

Helena Carrazedo, headteacher at Christ the King Catholic Primary School in Alfreton, added: “Our schools are spread far and wide and we rely on the bus to bring children in.”

Kevin Gillott, cabinet member for children and younger adults, said: “We are extremely disappointed to have to consider ending subsidised transport to faith schools. It currently costs us £1m a year to provide transport for 1,680 pupils whose parents or carers have chosen to send them to a faith school.”

On the Derbyshire Times Facebook page, John Siddall said: “Religion and education does not mix – my council tax should not be used to pay transport costs for children to allow them to follow a particular faith.”

The council’s consultation is due to run until December 2 with any changes coming into effect in September 2015.

Have your say in the consultation at

Pupils at the following schools may be affected by the plans:

All Saints CE Primary School, Bakewell

Christ The King Catholic Primary School, Alfreton

Immaculate Conception Catholic Primary School, Spinkhill

Pilsley CE Primary School, Bakewell

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Matlock

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Shirebrook

St Mary’s Catholic High School, Chesterfield

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Chesterfield