redcar council largeRedcar and Cleveland Borough Council has approved plans to withdraw discretionary transport to faith schools, after working with the schools to find a solution. 

The decision was made in 2012 to remove the free element of travel to faith schools and move towards a more cost-effective service. 

Due to the council having to cut its budget by £26.3 million by 2020, a review was undertaken of this service which identified there were more cost-effective and sustainable alternative options available.

A six week consultation was carried out with parents of service users who attend St Joseph’s Primary School in Loftus and Sacred Heart Secondary Catholic Voluntary Academy, and parents and carers. Primary schools whose pupils also feed into Sacred Heart were also consulted. 

The council understands that Sacred Heart has written to parents saying it will continue with a similar arrangement via a coach provider, and St Joseph’s has agreed to add a second minibus to its fleet and the council has agreed to assist with the costs of a vehicle in the first year.

If the council was to continue with the service, it would have had to increase the costs to service users. It currently costs the council £687.00 per pupil.

The withdrawal of this service does not impact on students who are entitled to free transport under relevant legislation.

Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Councillor Sue Jeffrey, said: “I am pleased that a solution has been found and that transport services will continue.

“If the council had carried on providing the service, we would have had to increase costs so this solution is much better value for money than what we could have offered.”