Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Concern over Leicestershire school bus cut plans

A head teacher in Leicestershire has raised concerns over a review which could see some school bus routes axed as part of county council cuts.

The authority may withdraw routes for some pupils living closer to school as part of plans to make savings of £66 million over four years.

But Martin Furniss, head of Martin High School in Anstey, said children would be in more danger if they walk.

The council currently has more services than its minimum legal requirement.

'Dangerous and deadly'

Legally the council does not have to provide additional services for those who live under three miles (4.8km) from, or do not attend, their catchment school.

But some parents and schools said they were worried any scaling down of the service could put children's lives at risk.

Mr Furniss said a pupil had once been killed crossing a nearby dual carriageway.

"Some of the pupils that come to the school would have to travel on main roads and in my opinion it is dangerous and deadly to do this," he said.

"These are narrow and dangerous lanes with sharp bends and cars travelling at 60 miles per hour (96.6km/h)."

'Impartial judgement'

He added: "Many of the families here are not high income earners and have to work long hours and do not have the time to take their children to school."

However, Tony Kirk, group manager of the Passenger Transport Unit at the county council, said the financial situation meant current arrangements had to be reviewed.

Using private bus companies is among the options being considered.

"I have heard these comments and we have put these proposals out there so they can be discussed," he said.

"But we have to trust the professionals in providing an impartial judgement of what constitutes a viable route for children and any possible commercial services."

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