Free London Zoo school trips scrapped

London Mayor cuts funding for free school visit scheme

FREE trips to London Zoo for school pupils are to be scrapped by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Every pupil from London’s 2,583 state schools currently has the opportunity to take part in a free educational visit to either the zoo or the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes each academic year.

The scheme has been funded by the Mayor since 2001 with up to 75,000 children benefiting annually.

But Mr Johnson has agreed to halt funding in a bid to save �606,000 a year, with the agreement with London Zoo expiring at the end of March.

A spokeswoman for the Mayor said: “With public finances under tremendous pressure, we have to constantly review all our spending commitments.

“London is fortunate to boast a wide range of wonderful cultural attractions and in these circumstances it is hard to single out a subsidy for this programme over other deserving candidates.”

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She added that the scheme had benefited from public funding and it is hoped funding from other sources can now be found.

Labour London Assembly member, Joanne McCartney, said: “The income of a child’s parents or the type of school they go to shouldn’t determine whether they can access fantastic educational facilities like these.

“The Mayor should know that thousands of children in London don’t get any other opportunity to see or learn about wildlife.”