Lib Dem puts post-16 funding back on agenda
Berwick's Liberal Democrat election candidate is calling for free post-16 transport for students to be re-introduced from September.
Julie Pörksen has challenged the new Conservative-led administration at Northumberland County Council to implement the policy.
When run by the Liberal Democrats, the county council provided free transport for post-16 students to travel to school and college.
The Labour administration stopped pupils using the school buses where there was public transport available, and pupils were charged for transport.
The new Conservative council, members of which campaigned to bring back the Lib Dem free transport policy when in opposition, will now be in a position to bring back free transport.
Julie Pörksen, candidate for the Berwick constituency and a trainee teacher, commented: “It was a outrage that Labour stopped the previous Lib Dem council’s free transport for post-16 students.
“Not only did they remove all rights to free transport, the actual cost was way above the £600 they originally suggested.
“It is ridiculous that half-empty buses take GCSE students to school whereas A-level students have to put up with expensive and often shoddy service from companies.”
She continued: “I know many young people and their families who have been seriously affected by the cost of transport.
“It should be every young person’s right to travel freely to school or college until they reach 18 – no matter where they live.
“Many Conservative councillors backed bringing back our Lib Dem policy on free post-16 transport when in opposition. I now call on Northumberland’s Conservative County Council to bring back free post-16 transport from September.”
Mrs Pörksen has been working in 2016/2017 in local schools while studying as a trainee teacher through Northumbria University’s Schools Direct programme.