Changes to school transport upheld by review panel

PUBLISHED: 10:13 10 July 2018

Suffolk County Council headquarters; Endeavour House, Ipswich.

Suffolk County Council headquarters; Endeavour House, Ipswich.


Changes to free school transport in Suffolk will go ahead from September 2019 as planned after a review panel upheld the decision.

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County CouncilCouncillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council

Suffolk County Council’s Conservative cabinet agreed on June 19 to phase in changes which means pupils will be eligible for free transport to their nearest school if it is two miles away.

Opposition parties united to call in the decision, reviewed at Monday’s scrutiny committee.

Seven members of the committee opted to uphold the decision while four voted for it to be reconsidered at cabinet. One councillor abstained.

Jack Abbott, Labour education spokesman who proposed the call-in, said: “Clearly I’m really disappointed that the Tories on the scrutiny committee decided to reject the evidence in front of them by falling into line and waving through a policy they know to be severely flawed.


“Clearly, they have no real interest in understanding the significant impact this will have on Suffolk’s families and schools.

Andrew Stringer, leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group, added: “The process behind this policy change has been an absolute farce.

“The Conservative administration have simply decided on the policy they want and are ignoring all evidence that suggests it might not be wise. What happened at scrutiny today just proves our point.”

The call-in raised a host of issues with how the decision was reached, including whether the financial modelling used to calculate the annual savings of £5.8million was sound and whether cabinet had been misled over the Consultation Institute’s involvement.

Green councillor Andrew Stringer.Green councillor Andrew Stringer.

Another concern raised was that a similar series of changes in Essex had not been adequately analysed as to whether the savings forecasted had been achieved.

But Gordon Jones, cabinet member for education at Suffolk County Council, said: “There can be no doubt this is one of the most difficult decisions the council has had to take. I know some are not happy with the recommendations for change, but the fact is, as we have clarified today, the correct process has been followed.

“It is now important we focus on implementing the new policy, so we have a school and post-16 travel service which is affordable and sustainable.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other news


An ex-teacher has been jailed for 10 years after engaging in sexual activity with two female pupils.

Figures have revealed the streets in Norfolk and Waveney which have access to both the fastest and the slowest broadband speeds, after a report has shown that more than a quarter of UK homes do not have fast enough broadband to cope with a family’s typical internet needs.


A photographer who has secured the front cover of a re-release of Stephen King’s ‘Dreamcatcher’ has used art to overcome her mental health struggles.


An incident which saw a dog chasing a deer through a nature reserve has sparked a warning to ‘irresponsible’ pet owners.

Most Read


An ex-teacher has been jailed for 10 years after engaging in sexual activity with two female pupils.

Read more
David Goodin

A doctors surgery has become the first in the Waveney area to prescribe parkrun to patients.

Read more

An incident which saw a dog chasing a deer through a nature reserve has sparked a warning to ‘irresponsible’ pet owners.

Read more
Waveney District Council
Yesterday, 12:45

Witnesses are being sought after a man was verbally assaulted in Lowestoft.

Read more
Lowestoft Police

A primary school which was put in special measures last year has been praised for its progress by Ofsted inspectors.

Read more

Winter Wonderland


Click here to view
the Autumn


Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 3°C

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Lowestoft Journal
e-edition today


Newsletter Sign Up

Lowestoft Journal weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy