A subsidy helping north coast high school students travel to courses at TAFE looks set to be scrapped next year.
The subsidies were put in place to help students in rural and remote areas get to TAFE vocational education and training courses.
A concerned parent of a student at Mullumbimby High alerted the Echonetdaily about the proposed cuts, saying students taking part in TAFE courses would not have access to school buses to take them to the Lismore or Kingscliff campuses.
‘A lot of the kids who are doing Year 11 next year are wondering how they will be able to get to the TAFE campuses,’ she said.
A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Education confirmed that while the subsidies have been available this year, they would not be available next year.
‘The majority of the region’s capped remote student travel at $10 per trip per week and had management systems in place to ensure that transport costs could be met,’ the spokesman said.
‘The growth in the numbers of students studying at TAFE increased the cost of the scheme to the point where schools and TAFE collaborated to reduce the amount of travel required, for instance by providing more concentrated periods of study at TAFE.
‘All North Coast secondary schools have been advised that this discussion is now underway in their area, given that the present subsidy cannot be maintained next year.
‘In addition to concentrating periods of study at TAFE, other options being canvassed include some popular TAFE courses being delivered in some schools, and car-pooling through schools.
Schools that require additional support with all aspects of TVET, including travel, have been asked to contact their local senior pathways officer to help finalise TVET arrangements for 2015.
Under the new guidelines for student travel, schools are required to advise students that they are to meet the costs of travel to and from TAFE courses.
The guidelines state that students in government schools may be provided with a travel subsidy on a cases-by-case basis.