School transport won't be safe from budget cuts

A motion to keep school transport arrangements safe from budget cuts was narrowly blocked at the Education Committee.

North Lanarkshire Council is proposing changing eligibility for primary pupils from more than one mile away from the school campus to two miles and secondary pupils from more than two miles away to three.

An SNP motion to save current primary arrangements was defeated by the convener’s casting vote after being tied 17-17, and another on retaining current secondary arrangements was defeated 21-13.

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Councillor Tom Johnston, SNP Group Education spokesman, said: “I find it appalling that Labour are considering making five-year-old infants walk two miles to school and imposing a three-mile walk on secondary pupils.

“No thought is being given to single parents in employment, or to parents with children attending two different schools.

“How do young children walk to school accompanied if both parents are working? What about parents with no car?

“School bus transport is important for ensuring pupils arrive at school on time. Forcing young children to walk to school will only increase the school car run and the traffic dangers at the school gate.

“Uproar from North Lanarkshire parents will quickly sink this ill-thought-out Labour Group proposal.”