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Mum speaks out about controversial school bus funding changes

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A mum has spoken out about controversial school transport cuts after her son, who has special needs, was denied a free bus to their preferred secondary school.

Jade Boreham, who lives in Bradfield Combust, said the situation was exacerbated by the fact that the bus picked her two older daughters up from her driveway.

Harry, who currently attends Cockfield CEVC Primary School, was due to go in September to Thurston Community College, which his two sisters, Imogen and Emily, currently attend. However, with the new funding cuts to school buses by Suffolk County Council, Jade will have to pay around £750 if Harry is to attend the same school as his sisters.

Jade and Harry Boredom. Picture by Mecha Morton.
Jade and Harry Boredom. Picture by Mecha Morton.

Jade has appealed the decision to the council and even submitted a letter from Harry’s ADHD and autism nurse, which says that he suffers significant anxiety when faced with changes to routines and surroundings. Harry has also undergone many transition visits to Thurston to help with these issues.

The council said that Harry’s nearest school is King Edward VI, in Bury St Edmunds, and that because he does not have an EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan) he does not qualify for free transport.

Jade said: “I am frustrated to say the least. Harry has had extra transition days, he has been visiting Thurston for years.

“It doesn’t make any sense, I can understand they have put out this [the funding cuts], but they have not made any adjustments. Not everyone fits in the boxes.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “There are many factors which determine why certain transport options are, or aren’t, available for children to certain schools.

“The school choices which parents make is one of these. In this case Thurston Community College is not the family’s nearest school, therefore they are not entitled to SCC funded travel.

“In cases where there is no entitlement to SCC-funded travel, the council can help broker local transport solutions, for example brokering lift shares, children cycling or schools offering their own transport.

“If parents discover their children are not eligible for funded travel, they can contact the Suffolk Brokerage Service for support.”