The Catholic Education Service (CES) has expressed concerns that many parents may not be able to afford to send their children to Catholic schools following decisions by many local authorities to remove discretionary subsidies for transport to schools with a religious character.
The CES estimates that over 50% of local authorities no longer offer transport subsidies for children attending schools with a religious character and a further 7% are consulting on whether or not to withdraw subsidies. Children attending Catholic schools often have to travel long distances to school and the removal of subsidies can cost parents up to £1500 per child for a year’s travel. The majority of those local authorities which have removed the subsidies have done so within the last two years.
Gregory Pope, Deputy Director of the CES said, “If parents have more than one child then these cuts can lead to bills of potentially thousands of pounds. Most parents simply cannot afford such costs. Parents should be able to choose to send their children to a Catholic school if they would like their child to receive a Catholic education but these charges will remove that choice. We strongly urge local authorities not to penalise Catholic parents in this way.”