Parent hits out at unfair pupil bus pass system

Sir William Robertson Academy, in Welbourn.
Sir William Robertson Academy, in Welbourn.

A Sleaford father has hit out against what he sees as the unfairness his daughter has experienced in not being able to get a free bus pass, despite having to travel 12 miles to school each day.

James Hodcroft of Greylees has only recently had his 11 year old daughter Maeve move in with him after his break-up with her mother.

He said: “All the schools closer had not had any spaces whatsoever when we first enrolled her for Year 7 in September. Sir William Robertson Academy in Welbourn was the closest school available. We had missed the opportunity to enrol at a nearer school before Maeve moved in with me.”

However, he says he was told that she was not eligible for a bus pass as it was not her nearest school.

He said: “The county council just said we had to apply to other schools closer and get turned down before we could try to apply for a bus pass. Then they insisted we would have to go on a waiting list for a more local school.”

Mr Hodcroft, currently retraining at university, said it was costing him a lot of money which he could ill afford to transport his daughter to school (£2 each way every day).

He has now withdrawn his daughter from the school after a space came up at St George’s Academy’s Ruskington site. He said: “If the funding had been fairer we would not have been out looking for another school.”

David Robinson, the county council’s Children’s Services Manager, said: “We support all those applications that meet the criteria for free transport and where there is a place at the school.

“The first application for transport to William Robertson School was not accepted because as a low income based application it did not meet the criteria of the school being between 2-6 miles from the home. The second application was made to St George’s College on the Ruskington site. This was approved as the designated school for the address.”

Sancha Maggs, Business Manager at Sir William Robertson Academy said they were sorry to lose Mave after helping settle her in: “Regarding the services from Sleaford, there are designated catchment areas for transport for each school.”