townviewHot TOPICS town h clean 

Subsidy for denominational transport facing the axe this week

(July 17, 2011)
A REPORT to councillors published this week recommends the abolition of discretionary subsidised denominational transport in Wiltshire from September 2012.
It will mean that parents of Roman Catholic children who wish their offspring to continue with a church school education post age 11 will now have to pay the  full transport costs to St Augustine's in Trowbridge.
This could add 400 pounds a year to the cost of raising a child. There 66 families in Warminster who will be hit by the charge, only those on benefits or free school meals will retain a free pass.
Previous attempts to axe denominational transport have been made as far back as 1990 but with the budget under pressure the forces of secularism are expected to win this time.
 The report reveals that 66 children from Warminster attend St Augustine's.
''St Augustine's is a remarkable success story as a generation ago it was considered something of a rough school with poor results,'' said Steve dancey.
''Today it is way ahead of Kingdown when it comes to exam performance, its children are polite and well turned out.
''It provides the sort of education that parents want - even this week we had an example - Kingdown had the American style 'Prom' whereas St Augustine's had a summer ball.''
Kingdown should take a look at what makes St Augustine's such a resounding success - quite why the previous head of Kingdown was awarded an OBE rather baffles me.''
No doubt all those who can afford the transport costs will pay up but it would be a shame if some children from poorer backgrounds were denied a choice enjoyed by previous generations so perhaps the Clifton Diocese could help.
''As usual it will be families just above the benefit level who will face greatest hardship - effectively a new marginal tax rate - but no government - Labour, Tory or Lib Dem seems to want to know about these people who are the true hard-working families.''

Click here to return to the HOT TOPICS page