Importance of school choice highlighted by Labour on National Offer Day

Labour’s Education Spokesperson, Cllr Jack Abbott, has highlighted the importance of choice as thousands of Suffolk’s pupils receive offers for secondary school places, warning that the County Council’s home-to-school transport proposals will remove families’ right to choose.

Over seven thousand applicants received offers for their first preference secondary school on National Offer Day but Labour say that, under proposals to replace the popular catchment school transport policy to a nearest school scenario, thousands of families could effectively lose their ability to choose from a range of schools.

Cllr Abbott said; “It is fantastic to see so many pupils receiving a place at their first choice school, which is why it is really frustrating that the County Council are pushing for a change in the home-to-school transport policy, undoing their good work and removing choice from thousands of families.

“I fundamentally believe that families should be able to choose from a range of schools in order to find the right educational setting for their child.

“This isn’t just about sending their child to the best school in terms of attainment, but also schools which might excel in meeting their child’s pastoral needs or specialise in areas and subjects that their child is particularly interested in.

“These school transport changes, championed by Colin Noble and his Cabinet, will particularly affect low income families in rural areas who will not be able to afford the thousand pounds, per child, it would cost to attend their appropriate school. It is not right that any child’s education should be restricted by their postcode or their income and that is exactly what will happen if these proposals are pushed through.

“The Council’s self-congratulatory statement at being able to deliver preferred school places is completely undermined by their own proposal which will see thousands of families lose their ability to choose the right school for their child.

“If they are really serious about delivering choice to Suffolk’s residents, they should drop their damaging home-to-school transport proposals, now.”

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