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Angry Porthtowan and Mawla parents campaign against proposed cuts to school transport

By WBEsme  |  Posted: February 28, 2014

Angry parents campaign against bus cuts.

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A group of parents from Porthtowan and Mawla are campaigning against a Cornwall Council proposal which would stop free bus transport for children over 8 years old.

The parents, whose children attend Mount Hawke Academy, are protesting against changes that would cut free transport for children aged between nine and twelve who live under a certain distance from the school.

Currently the council provide free transport to all primary children living more than two miles away from their designated school.

But under the new Home to School Transport policy the distance would increase to three miles for pupils aged between nine and twelve years old.

This has angered parents in Porthtowan and Mawla who live roughly 2.5 miles from Mount Hawke Academy.

If the proposal is accepted they would be forced to choose between driving, paying £240 per year for limited bus spaces, or trekking along a busy road to get their children to school each day.

Rebecca Vickerstaff, who has a 9 year-old daughter, Daisy, at Mount Hawke Academy, said: “Some children will be left unable to get to school safely.

“Not everyone has two cars, and moreover we shouldn’t have to pay to get our children to school.

“Porthtowan doesn’t have its own school in the village so why should we be penalised.”

The worried mother has also raised concerns about the safety of walking between Porthtowan and Mount Hawke.

She said: ““I defy anybody to think it is safe to walk these roads with a pushchair and two children either side.”

The campaigning parents have so far gained more than 100 signatures against the new proposal, which Miss Vickerstaff will hand in to Cornwall Council’s department for children and young people today.

If implemented the new Home to School Transport policy would come in to effect at the start of the new academic year in September.

Primary school children from low income families will not be affected and would still receive free transport to their designated school.

Andrew Wallis, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for children and young people, has said that in light of substantial budget cuts across the council as a whole measures such as these need to be considered.

He said: “There is always a cut-off point and there is always going to be those affected by it.

“At the end of the day children’s safety is paramount to us. We want to make sure that children going to and from school are safe.

“But my advice would be for people to take the time to give their views so we can understand how people feel about this.”

Mr Wallis added that the proposal would have a long way to go before it could be enforced as it still needs to undergo assessment by a portfolio advisory committee and be brought for discussion in a council cabinet meeting.

The consultation period for the new Home to School Transport policy will close today.

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