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Mum goes into battle over school transport

A parent from Borehamwood is gathering support in a bid to stop the county council pressing ahead with a controversial plan to cut its funding for school transport.

Hertfordshire County Council is proposing to stop free or subsidised transport for pupils who attend a religious school of a denomination that they do not belong to.

The council argues that the present system is unfair, because children who attend a non-faith school which is not their nearest school do not get free transport.

But Sharon Galloway, from Arundel Drive, whose son attends Townsend School in St Albans, has started a petition, arguing that the change would limit the choices open to parents.

"This is the council's way of saying that if you want your children to be educated out of the borough you should pay for it and I think that is wrong," she said.

The council is consulting parents about the proposed changes to its transport policy, which would be introduced for the school year starting in September 2003.

Pupils who are of the same denomination as the school they attend would continue to get free transport, and the change would not affect children now at a faith school.

However, County Councillor Brian York who represents Borehamwood South, warned the change could result in parents paying twice as much for school transport.

He stressed that the change in policy would only save the council £22,400, out of an overall annual education budget of more than £500million.

"It is going to affect people like Methodists and Baptists who do not have their own schools but want to send their children to a Christian school," he said.

Under the plans, children who attend their nearest school which is more than two miles away for under-eights, or three miles away for over-eights, will get free transport.

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