School travel scheme

I feel I must respond to the letter from County Councillor Liz Yates in the 26th Sept edition of the Trader & Guardian, as it may give a misleading impression.

In doing so, may I make clear that I am not a member of any political party, although I did work as a local authority education officer for many years, including a stint in Notts.

It is potentially confusing to state that the county council, when controlled by the Labour Party, “always preferred to prescribe the schools a child should attend”. What happened was that the council guaranteed a place in the local school if parents wished to take it up. If not, they were able to exercise their legal right to request a place in a more distant school, a right that has been enshrined in law ever since the 1980 Education Act.

An even longer-standing legal principle was that taxpayers should not be required to shoulder the cost of transporting pupils to more distant schools of preference, if places were available closer to home. The policy introduced by the previous administration of the county council was thus ground-breaking, and inevitably controversial. It was highly predictable that, in times of austerity, the current administration would reverse it.

I make no comment about the political rights and wrongs of this, although I do think it’s a bit pointless to criticise the current Labour administration for taking ideologically-driven decisions when the previous Conservative one did exactly the same in introducing the policy. It’s just that the ideologies are different.

Rob White

Pennington Walk, Retford