A NEWLY-FORMED community group has formally objected to Northumberland County Council’s proposals to remove free home to school transport at Bellingham Middle School.

The Bellingham Middle School Community Association was set up to support the education of pupils and fund-raise for community projects which benefit the school.

The group has now sent a letter on behalf of parents, pupils and community members regarding the proposed removal of free transport for pupils joining the school from next year.

In the letter the group stated: “Due process has not been followed, it’s discriminatory with regards to parental preference, it’s disadvantageous to children’s education, it’s detrimental to children’s health, wellbeing and social development, and has a negative impact on the rural carbon footprint.”

Chairwoman of the group, Julie Mobberley, said parents were being treated in an “extremely discriminatory manner”.

The letter argued that children moving to the school from next September warranted the same access to free school transport as schools in the Hexham Partnership.

The middle school was saved from closure after a school adjudicator overturned a council decision to close it, but it remains part of the Haydon Bridge Partnership where a two-tier system exists.

Local resident, Joyce Knudsen, has also sent a letter to the council raising concerns about the extra miles pupils in the North Tyne would have to travel to Haydon Bridge, as opposed to attending the middle school.

A council spokeswoman said: “We considered very carefully the position for families in the light of the future structure agreed by the council for schools in the area.”