Dear Parents and Carers
IMPORTANT NEWS – PROPOSALS TO LOSE FREE TRANSPORT TO MCA
You may be aware that Suffolk County Council is proposing to make whole scale changes to the transport policy for school and post-16 travel to come in to effect in 2019. The changes that are being proposed could seriously affect a number of students who currently travel to MCA for free and to the Sixth Formers who currently purchase seats on school buses, as well as those families wishing to send their children to MCA in the future.
If the policy changes it will mean that students will only be entitled to free transport to the nearest school, which is the ‘legal requirement’ referred to in the consultation documents. The only exceptions are families on low incomes (with children eligible for Free School Meals) living within 2 to 6 miles of their preferred school or those whose children have special educational needs or disabilities.
The Impact on Our Students Would Be:
For the majority of students living in and around Lakenheath the nearest school would be IES Breckland. This would mean that many of the students who currently have free transport to MCA or would be hoping to in the future after 2019, would no longer be entitled to free transport.
For families living at Elveden the nearest school would be Thetford Academy.
There would be no guarantee that Sixth Formers would be able to travel on school buses if MCA6 is not their nearest centre. This could affect Sixth Formers everywhere not just those in the Lakenheath and Elveden areas.
It is important that you put forward your views in the consultation period which runs from Tuesday 12 December 2017 to Wednesday 28 February 2018.
I have made several attempts already to try to prevent this action by Suffolk County Council from affecting our students and their families. I have met twice with Suffolk County Council and I have also written extensively to local councillors and to our local MP Matthew Hancock.
It is time now to ask for your help.
I am holding two meetings for parents at Lakenheath Primary School on Wednesday 10th January 2018.
The first meeting will start at 3.00 p.m. and is for parents of primary school aged children who could be affected by the policy in the future.
The second meeting will start at 6.00 p.m. and is for parents of secondary school aged students and Sixth Formers living in Lakenheath who currently attend MCA and could be affected by the policy change.
I am also holding a meeting at MCA, Bury Road, on Tuesday 16th January 2018 at 6.00 p.m. for any other parents or Sixth Formers who would like to attend.
You are welcome to attend any of these meetings if you cannot make the one targeted at your child’s age group.
With this letter, is the letter that Suffolk County Council has asked us to send to all parents. This explains about the consultation and how you can have your say. You will see that Suffolk County Council has scheduled a workshop for 23rd January 2018 at 7.00 p.m. at the Pavilion, Eriswell Road, Lakenheath. I think it would be very wise for as many parents as possible to attend this workshop to voice their opinions.
I am hopeful that if enough parents respond to the consultation we can still change the policy that Suffolk County Council wishes to impose.
Ms S Byles
Mildenhall College Academy