Baginton villagers say: ‘school bus travel plan is not fair on our kids’

Baginton brothers Mason and Thomas (left and centre) and brothers Ben and James (right) are from families who would be affected by the changes to the free school bus service provision for the village.
Baginton brothers Mason and Thomas (left and centre) and brothers Ben and James (right) are from families who would be affected by the changes to the free school bus service provision for the village.

Parents in Baginton have launched a petition to save free school bus travel to a school for which the village is in its catchment area.

Warwickshire County Council will provide free transport for children in the village to get to some schools but only if there is space at the schools.

For families in Baginton this is likely to be for schools in either Ryton or Binley Woods, or St Nicholas and Thorns in Kenilworth but not Priors Field, for which youngsters who joined the school in previous years are able to get a bus to for free.

This would mean that Lisa Conway, whose son Thomas is already at Priors Field, would either have to pay about £780 for her younger son Mason, aged four, to get the same bus to the school with his brother or he would have to use a free taxi service provided by the council.

The online petition, launched by Lisa and other concerned parents in the village, says: “Children will be dotted outside the village and a high possibility at the age of four years old travelling in a taxi alone.

“In some cases, siblings will be separated as the older child already attends Priors Field.

“This is a national decision, but we need to fight and show the local authority that this rule does not work for our village.

“The bus currently has lots of empty seats, meaning there is no financial gain by having extra transport travelling in the opposite direction, this will only add pollution and congestion to our roads as well as wasting taxpayers’ money.

“The schools outside the village will also be affected as they will have the overspill of the Baginton children.

“They will also have extra traffic coming into their villages/areas too.

“The most important part of this, however, is the children, they are the heart of this village. Fears for social isolation, lack of friendships forming in the village, splitting up siblings and their worries about travelling alone are all huge factors that must be considered. Starting school is a huge transition for a child and something the Government stresses they are very passionate about, ensuring children are supported, eliminating any worries and building their self-esteem so they are school ready.

“This is not going to be the case for the children of Baginton.

“Some small children may not even be able to comprehend the change.

“They may feel they have done something wrong to be separated from the rest of the village children.

“We must fight for these children and make ourselves be heard. We are talking about young children - no child should have a price on their head.”

More than 120 people have signed the petition which has been active since the beginning of the month.

Ward county councillor Wallace Redford is supporting the campaign and said the issue raised by Lisa and other parents is one which is affecting many rural communities across the county.

He said: “There is a one-size-fits-all policy in place but we need more flexibility.”

The petition ‘Save the free Baginton School Bus - the children need your voice!!’ can be found under the petitions section of Warwickshire County Council website https://democratic.warwickshire.gov.uk/cmis5/Petitions.aspx

Warwickshire County Council told us it was looking into the matter.