PUBLISHED: 12:07 18 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:11 06 May 2010
A HEADTEACHER has said the relationship between the Catholic community and a local authority is under threat . Hertfordshire County Council is proposing to phase out free faith school transport for new pupils from September 2007. Michael Kelly, the headt
A HEADTEACHER has said the relationship between the Catholic community and a local authority is "under threat".
Hertfordshire County Council is proposing to phase out free faith school transport for new pupils from September 2007.
Michael Kelly, the headteacher at Stevenage's John Henry Newman School, called the idea "discriminatory" and said if the proposal gets the go-ahead the council's relationship with the Catholic community will be weakened.
Mr Kelly said: "At the John Henry Newman School 700 pupils a day travel to school on transport free to them.
"The removal of free transport provision would dramatically reduce the number of people who come to school and we would lose our Catholic identity. It is discriminatory against faith schools.
"The good relationship between Catholic community and local authority is under threat here."
The headteacher of St Thomas More RC School in Letchworth GC, Mary Hewiston, agreed.
She said: "I believe that the move is discriminatory and if the proposal goes through over a very short period of time it could bring the demise of Catholic education in Herts."
A council spokesman said the council currently spends £3.4 million providing free transport to faith schools and hopes the move will save that amount of money from the school transport budget over six years.
Approximately £400,000 would be saved in the first year and the money will be put back into education.
She said: "It would be fairer if it was spent on all children rather than just those going to faith schools. In some cases the council is running busses and running taxis every day. If someone is going a long way to a faith school it can be expensive.
"We don't want to undermine the schools, that's not the purpose of review. We want to make it fairer.