09:40AM, Friday 14 August 2020
Claire Fleetwood with her son Josh.
A mum in Iver Heath has said ‘weeks of not sleeping’ have come to an end after her 11-year-old son was offered a bus place two weeks before the start of the new school term.
Due to a change in policy from the Buckinghamshire Council, parents whose children attend a school more than three miles away from home have to pay a £94 fee for a bus place.
The council said the previous policy which allocated free spaces to all school children was not correct as it is under no legal requirement to offer free bus places to families who choose to attend a school further from home.
Claire Fleetwood, who was one of 27 families whose child was put on a waiting list for a bus place as her son Josh will be attending Chalfont Community College instead of Khalsa Secondary Academy, in Stoke Poges. Claire said she did not want to send Josh to Khalsa as it received 'inadequate' in its latest Ofsted inspection and her other son, Will, also attends Chalfont Community College.
However Claire was not offered a bus place for Josh despite paying the fee.
Nearly all of the 27 families affected by the council’s new bus policy have now been told their child has been offered a bus place.
“That’s two weeks of not sleeping and making really challenging decisions about the future of your child come to an end,” said Claire.
She said Buckinghamshire Council had reacted in a positive way but said the policy should be removed.
Single mum Karen Hopkins is also ‘over the moon’ to have been offered a bus place for her son who is starting Chalfont Community College in September after she extended her working hours to pay the bus fee.
David Martin, cabinet member for logistics at Buckinghamshire Council, said: “The council does its very best to support all parents getting their children to school so where parents applying for a paid-for place found they weren’t available the council makes further efforts to find different suppliers.
“That has been achieved in this case and I am very pleased on behalf of all the parents.”
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