Social engineering via free school travel

man in gray shirt walking on pathway

Photo by Ben Herbert on

Whilst I read that head teachers warn of the effect of ending free school travel for under-18s, I was reminded that the free travel to school had all along a big impact on the ability of schools to attract pupils.

Whilst being on a board that deals with dissolving Raine’s Foundation school in Bethnal Green East London, the argument that a lack of pupil numbers makes the school not viable to stay open, was dominating all considerations to approve the closure of the school.

Especially church schools as well as those catering for secondary pupils and sixth formers, rely on good transport to their schools.

During the last couple of years I went on the bus to the London Aquatic Centre for early morning swims and incidentally that same bus also transports pupils to the nearby Bobbie Moore Academy. Many of the pupils went on the bus locally to me and those pupils would potentially have applied to Raine’s Foundation had it not been for the Bobbie Moore Academy and those pupils could do so in the knowledge that the journey to the school was free as bus travel was free.

In the case of Bishop Challoner Catholic school, also many pupils take the bus to there from our area.

Social engineering has taken place through free school travel.

And whilst Tower Hamlets schools are now phasing out sport as a curriculum choice in Sixth Form, pupils have less choice to travel to schools which do still teach it.

Morpeth School became famous as provider of facility for a Table Tennis Olympic Team in 2012, but suddenly now, Morpeth has declined to teach sport in Sixth form. Raine’s affiliated to Sport England and had to close.

Parents enrol children to schools with an expectation of cost and time committment and that is along-term plan. For many parents calculating the cost of travel is very important and pulling away the rug under families’ feet to suddenly charge for travel, is quite unfair to those who heavily rely on that perk, which seems minute and small to those who have it all.


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