Plans to end free transport for children attending faith schools has sparked criticism, with one education trust saying it is “discriminating against faith groups”.
Bradford Council is consulting on the cuts, which would see subsidised transport ended for a number of pupils, including those who attend a faith school that is beyond the statutory walking distance – 1.5 miles for primary schools and two miles for secondary schools.
Caroline Hyde, chairman of The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust, which runs St Mary’s secondary in Menston and Sacred Heart primary in Ilkley, estimates it could cost a family of three school age children an extra £1,000 a year to get their children to school after the cuts, adding: “This will be a real challenge to all but those on the highest incomes.”
Mohammed Rafiq Sehgal, president of the Bradford Council for Mosques, said: “In the Muslim community there is a higher level of poverty and a lot of people on low income. Any cuts to school transport will just add to the financial burden of families that are already struggling.”