Nia Griffith MP has welcomed the good news that the Council’s executive board have thrown out the suggestion to cut the transport to St John Lloyd’s School, and they have confirmed that they will not even contemplate such a cut.
MP backs St John Lloyd’s bus campaign
I fully support the parents in the campaign to keep free transport to St. John Lloyd’s School or we will end up with only better off families having the option to send their children to a Catholic School, and no such choice for those struggling to make ends meet, which would be very unfair.
I suspect that when the officers were told to look for possible cuts, they were told not to touch the money that is actually given out to schools in the schools’ budget so they has to look at what else they could cut.
But I am asking councillors to throw this idea out straightaway: I have already spoken to the Labour members of the executive board and I will be lobbying other councillors. Any change would be very disruptive. There has traditionally been a commitment to pupils that once the authority agrees they qualify for free transport, they will have the bus pass for the duration of their time at secondary school, so if the authority honours that commitment, then they will have to continue to run the buses for several years which would mean no immediate saving.
Also some of those pupils live more than three miles from any of the county’s secondary schools so if they lost their free transport to St John Lloyd’s they would still be entitled to free transport to their nearest school so they would continue to be a cost. To stop the free transport with immediate effect would be unthinkable; it would be very damaging for those pupils forced to change schools.
More than that, with more than a third of the pupils at St John Lloyd’s affected, it could not only lead to overcrowding in other schools in the County, but it could also mean that the number of pupils in St. John Lloyd’s School drops so much that the school becomes unviable, uneconomic and unable to offer a full range of subjects. But if St John Lloyd closed, there just would not be room to accommodate its Llanelli pupils in Bryngwyn and Coedcae. I am sure that councillors do not intend to trigger the reconfiguration of our schools, so I hope they will reject this idea as soon as possible and put parents and pupils’ minds at rest.”