Cumbria Crack

MP calls for all sixth form students to have access to free school transport

Tim Farron MP at one of his regular youth surgeries

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has urged the Government to provide free school transport for sixth form students to help pupils in rural communities.

Free school transport is provided for children up until sixth form age.

However, in places like Sedbergh and Coniston it’s often impossible to access sixth forms at schools or colleges by public transport.

In a letter to the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, Tim asked how the Government could justify the discrimination against 16-18-year-old students since raising the age that young people are allowed to leave education.

Tim said: “During my summer tour the issue of school transport came up regularly in the more remote areas.

“It just simply doesn’t make any sense for the Government to demand that young people carry on with education until they are 18, but at the same time take away the means which actually allows them to travel there every day.

“There needs to be a statutory responsibility for Local Education Authorities to guarantee home to school transport for 16-18-year-old students in the same way that there is for those students under the age of 16 – and the Government must provide them with the money do this.

“This continued discrimination against sixth form students must end now.”

Commenting on today’s call by the MP for more free school transport funding, councillor Tom Harvey said: “If Tim Farron really wants to improve school transport for pupils in South Lakeland, he should speak to his fellow Liberal Democrat councillors who control Cumbria County Council and pushed through massive cuts to the service. To add insult to injury they then voted against proposals by the council’s Conservative group to restore funding.

“Instead of shouting from the side-lines, Tim Farron needs to ask himself why he can’t even influence councillors in his own Party.”

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