A Sutton Bridge father has launched a petition to protect free grammar school transport from the possibility of budget cuts.
Mick Flindall claimed that a partial review of school transport policy in Lincolnshire could put selective education out of reach for his son who goes to Spalding Grammar School.
If we don’t stamp on it now, it’ll be a lot harder to take the battle them if the end of free grammar school transport becomes accepted policy.Mick Flindall of Sutton Bridge
Students, parents and teachers met with Lincolnshire County Council members conducting a review of free grammar school transport in Lincoln on Wednesday and Mr Flindall said the future of grammar school entry as an “opportunity and not a privilege” was at stake.
“As a parent living in Sutton Bridge on a low income, the experience of my son getting selected for Spalding Grammar School was an opportunity,” Mr Flindall said.
“I’ve never known a kid who is as enthusiastic about school as he is, but if free grammar school transport is withdrawn, I wouldn’t be able to get him there.
“If we don’t stamp on it now, while the council is still talking about it, it’ll be a lot harder to take the battle them if the end of free grammar school transport becomes accepted policy.”
The review of the £2.7 million segment of the council’s £25 million home-to-school transport service started in July after parents from villages near Bourne claimed they were being discriminated against.
Currently, there is no free transport to Bourne Grammar School or Bourne Academy even though the town is the same distance from their homes as Stamford to which their children do get free transport.
John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings who has been contacted by Mr Flindall, said: “Grammar schools are about young people with ability getting there, regardless of where they are from.
“The review needs to focus on social mobility and the provision of the best education possible for young people.
“Anything which impairs that is to be resisted, although I will look at any changes to free grammar school transport on their merits.”
Coun Jackie Brockway, chairman of the review group, said: “We have met with some schools, parent and carer groups, young people and others to get further views and feedback before looking at future options.
“This was a really good session and I thank all those who took the time to meet with us for their valuable contributions.
“No decisions are being made at this time and we intend to consider the feedback fully so that, in January, we will draft options and proposals to take to the Executive.”
Mr Flindall’s petition can be found at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/keep-free-grammar-transport