A mother has criticised council transport policy that means instead of taking up the course of his choice at the
college closest to his home, her son may be forced to travel twice the distance each day.
Joe Francis, 16, of March Road, Welney, wants to take up a Level 3 Btec engineering course at the College of West Anglia’s Wisbech campus – 20 minutes from his home.
But there is no existing bus service and, as Norfolk County Council views the Wisbech campus as a satellite site, it will only guarantee him transport to the college’s campus in Lynn.
Joe’s mother Karen Harrison said: “It’s a ludicrous situation. Joe chose the course at Wisbech because he felt it had the best facilities and it is closest to our home. Joe needs to get to college independently as neither myself nor my husband are available as we both have full time jobs.”
Niki Park,client services manager for Travel and Transport Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “Post 16 transport is a costly discretionary service and therefore our policy has always been to offer subsidised transport to post 16 students to the main site of their chosen college.
“We are talking to Mrs Harrison to see what options may be available to support her son to attend the Wisbech site but we are not in a position to support her son’s transport unless we can do so at a cost that is no greater than providing transport support to the main site in Lynn. We are also working with the college to explore what options there may be to support their students’ travel.”
A College of West Anglia spokesman said: “We work with Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire county councils to ensure that, as far as possible, every learner can access their course of choice at their preferred campus.
“However, in some cases, this will be restricted by the available public bus and rail routes and services specifically commissioned by the local authorities.
“In Mrs Harrison’s son’s case, the course he is taking is available at both King’s Lynn and Wisbech and we understand that the local authority is looking at every possible option to enable him to access his course of choice.”