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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 11:35 GMT
Parent anger at bus charge plans
Some parents whose children attend Catholic schools in Leicestershire could be charged up to 320 a year for previously free bus services.

Leicestershire County Council included the proposal in budget plans and will now put the matter out to consultation.

Free bus services are provided for pupils in catchment areas, but under the plans, those pupils who travel in from nearby villages could be charged.

The council said the scheme would help raise money for "front line services".

Bus cuts

County councillor for Melton Mowbray, Matthew O'Callaghan, said some provision should be made for pupils having to travel to school.

"Catholic schools are part of the state education provision and people are allowed to make a choice to send their children to a Catholic school.

"If the state makes the provision then there ought to be some contribution to paying towards transport," he said.

Peter Etheridge, parent and governor at St Francis' Primary School in Melton Mowbray, said the new charges could stop parents sending their children to Catholic schools.

"What concerns me is how many parents will change their minds about sending their kids to a Catholic school - which will reduce numbers and the need for a bus.

"Parents will end up driving their kids to school and then we'll have a green problem on top of everything else," said Mr Etheridge.


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