School takes to Twitter in hunt for a fare deal
A CITY school has started a social media campaign to force officials to reconsider planned cuts to school transport.
St Mary's College, in north Hull, has set up a Twitter account to fight the plans.
Hull City Council wants to cut all free school transport it is not legally obliged to provide.
Schools say it threatens not just the safety of children but will drive down standards and push more parents into poverty.
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Pupils travel from all over Hull and the East Riding to go to St Mary's College, as it is the city's only Catholic secondary school.
Currently, any pupil who lives more than three miles away can travel for free.
If changes go ahead, many would have to pay.
Ged Fitzpatrick, headteacher at St Mary's, is furious about the proposals.
"We are hoping this will be a successful Twitter campaign," he said.
"We will be encouraging parents to contact their local councillors and MPs .
"I have a very strong view that this is an idiotic move in terms of raising attainment in Hull.
"It is just crass."
Parents and supporters of the campaign are being encouraged to follow @SMChull on Twitter.
Mr Fitzpatrick said: "The city council has not included a 'no change' option in the consultation.
"No change is the brave option for Hull.
"We have this fantastic investment in schools and the bricks have not even been finally laid.
"The council purports to support a great diverse offer with community schools, academies, single sex schools and faith schools.
"I am not saying for one minute there are not difficult financial circumstances, but if we are serious about children and keeping them safe, this is a nonsense move."
The city council has launched a consultation into the proposals. A series of meetings are being held to gather parents' views.
The city council has a legal duty to provide transport to pupils who go to their nearest school, but who live more than three miles away for secondary pupils and two miles for primary pupils.
It also must also provide transport for children with special educational needs and low-income families – classed as those pupils on free school meals.
There are currently 1,900 pupils who get free transport, at a cost of about £386 each per year.
About half of them would be affected if all non-compulsory free transport is cut, meaning the council could save about £366,000.