Parents fear children will be forced to move school if March to Peterborough bus subsidy is withdrawn

WORRIED parents have set up a petition after discovering that their children’s school bus service is to be slashed.

The cut leaves 30 youngsters facing the prospect of being forced to change school.

The bus that transports pupils from March to the John Fisher Catholic High School in Peterborough is due to finish in 2014 when Cambridgeshire County Council withdraws its subsidy.

Parent Hannah Orbell said: “Parents want their children to continue their education at the school, but if the bus is cancelled many people will have no choice but to move their children elsewhere.

“We think the decision is already made, but we will send a petition to the council to show the strength of feeling against the bus being stopped.

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“I am also amazed that parents have not been officially notified about the decision.”

Ms Orbell, a Year 5 teacher at All Saints Primary School in March, added: “A lot of parents chose the school because they knew children would be picked up in March and dropped off within the school gates.

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“I think the loss of the bus will put a lot of prospective parents off. The loss of the bus service will also limit parental choice.”

Parents currently pay about �500 a year for each child’s seat on the bus, and the council has subsidised the service for a number of years.

However, Cabinet agreed in March last year to phase out subsidies for transport to and from denominational schools gradually until 2014.

A council spokesman said: “Parents have a right to express a preference to attend a faith school, but the council does not have a statutory duty to provide transport subsidies for pupils travelling to denominational schools.

“Neighbouring authorities including Peterborough, Central Bedfordshire and Lincolnshire have taken similar action and already withdrawn denominational transport subsidies.”

Ms Orbell. who is considering alternative travel options, said: “We are prepared to continue to pay for the service. Some parents of pupils who travel to King’s School in Peterborough by train are interested in sharing a coach with us.

“I would also like to appeal to any bus companies who might be able to help us, to come forward. We are willing to continue to pay, to ensure that our children can remain at a school where they are happy and secure.”

• Anyone wanting to sign the petition can e-mail Ms Orbell at

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