Bus row school may pay to transport stranded pupils

Reporter:

Phil Robisnon

A SCHOOL could use its own money to bus in children left stranded by a controversial transport policy.

Despite a barrage of opposition, Wrexham Council is to go ahead with a plan to axe free transport from Chirk, Froncystyllte and Garth to Ysgol Dinas Bran in Llangollen from September next year.

From then on the local authority will pay only for the children to attend their nearest secondary school, Ysgol Rhiwabon.

Now Ysgol Dinas Bran, which is in Denbighshire, could be about to take matters into its own hands by offering to take over the financing of the service.

In a statement, it said: “The headteacher and governing body have given consideration to the revised Wrexham Council transport policy due to come into force in September, 2012.

“As a result of the potential impact on traditional links, excellent relationships and pupil numbers, the school is now giving consideration to funding transport for pupils who will no longer be eligible. This will include some pupils from the Chirk, Froncystyllte and Garth communities.

“This will be a school decision and will be funded from school funds.”

A Denbighshire County Council spokesman said: “We will continue to work with the school to model projections and understand the demand for transport over the coming years.

“In addition we will ensure the school is informed of responsibilities with regards to commissioning, tendering and contract management arrangements for any transport provision the governing body may decide to fund.”

The proposal to axe free transport to Ysgol Dinas Bran from parts of Wrexham caused a storm of protest.

Chirk councillors Ian Roberts and Terry Evans spearheaded the campaign to have Wrexham Council rethink the decision.

At one point Cllr Roberts – now Mayor of Wrexham – accused the authority of ignoring responses to a consultation exercise carried out by the council.

Speaking after yesterday’s announcement, Cllr Evans said: “We have never given up the battle to maintain this link to our traditional secondary school and I am delighted Ysgol Dinas Bran is now considering taking matters into its own hands.

“Hopefully this means pupils from Chirk will be able to continue going to Dinas Bran – and that would be great news for our community.”

Ysgol Dinas Bran headteacher Alison Duffy pledged last summer the school would not give up the fight.

She said: “Those who can afford it will pay for their children to travel and some won’t be able to afford it. It’s not fair.”

See full story in the Leader

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