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Glasgow MSP And SNP Candidate Oppose SLC Plans
A Glasgow MSP has hit out at South Lanarkshire Council’s changes to school bus provision for secondary school pupils.
Bob Doris MSP said the council had given “little consideration as to how local parents will be able to ensure their children get safely to school.”
Under the plans, kids living within three miles of high school will no longer be able to rely on free transport.
The move was unanimously approved by councillors of all parties at a budget meeting in February.
South Lanarkshire Council are currently undertaking a consultation exercise until May 13 over the proposal, which will come into effect in September.
Mr Doris, of the SNP, spoke at a public meeting organised by Halfway Community Council last month, with parents again expressing their outrage.
He said, “For some parents cost is an issue, for others there is simply no alternative bus provision in the local area. Even for parents who have cars, many said it would be impossible to fit in doing multiple school runs, childcare and getting to their work on time.
“Whether any of these matters can be addressed, including the idea of potential ‘safe’ walking routes, remains to be seen. Of course some parents will now take a car and little consideration seems to have been given to the environmental impact.”
Mr Doris said he would work with the council, but called on the current process to be stopped.
He was backed by SNP candidate for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Margaret Ferrier, who said: “It would have been far preferable for the council to examine some of significant issues raised by parents ahead of the threatened axe to school bus provision. Indeed the suggestion contained within the consultation document that parents should get together to arrange their own contract bus provision without any council support is ill considered.”
Lynn Sherry, Head of Education, South Lanarkshire Council, said: “Taking account of the financial constraints the council faces, it had to make £17.6million of savings. Education Resources account for 45 per cent of the council’s budget but, due to education being viewed as a priority, it contributed only 13 per cent towards the savings package.
“Included within the savings package was the proposal to increase the qualification for entitlement to free mainstream school transport for secondary pupils from ‘more than two miles’ to ‘more than three miles’.
“South Lanarkshire Council’s current policy is more generous in that free school transport is provided for all mainstream secondary school pupils who live more than two miles from their catchment school.
“We are aware of concerns being expressed by some parents. It is worth highlighting that the council’s criteria for evaluating safe-walking routes, with the child being accompanied by a responsible adult, will remain using the West of Scotland Road Safety Guidelines.”
A consultation event will take place at Cathkin High on April 29 from 6pm to 8pm.