Parents protest school transport proposals outside council headquarters 

Parents and pupils from Cambuslang and Blantyre took part in the protest on Wednesday.

Parents protest school transport proposals outside council headquarters LDRS

South Lanarkshire parents staged a protest at the council headquarters on Wednesday.

Parents, carers and school pupils from Cambuslang and Blantyre rallied against proposed changes to free school transport provision.

The council has revealed plans to alter the qualifying free transport distance a mainstream secondary school pupil must live from their catchment area to three miles – it is currently only two miles.

The latest protest comes after pupils, parents and local politicians walked the council’s safe walking route from Hallside Primary School to Cathkin High School on Sunday, February 11, to oppose the plans and to test how suitable the route is for kids who would potentially be forced to walk to school.

Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey, who took part in the walk and attended the protest, said: “Despite miserable weather, local young people and their parents and carers turned out in great numbers to protest against the bus cuts at South Lanarkshire Council HQ.

“It was a pleasure to join them.

“They’ve led a brilliant and colourful campaign so far – shining a light on the council’s unsafe, unworkable and unpopular proposals which would remove free school transport provision for many.

“South Lanarkshire Council must listen to the community and keep free school transport provision.”

A parent who attended the protest said: “It was a good turnout, given that it was a weekday and most people work.

“We also had a walk with the South Lanarkshire Council staff yesterday morning. A few points they are taking away to remedy. However, a lot of our concerns, we felt, were batted back to us as parents. Feelings were rather deflated afterwards.”

In response to calls for more time to consider the proposal, the council has extended the consultation period by two weeks. The consultation will now close on Friday, March 15.

Carole McKenzie, executive director of the council’s education resources, previously said: “The Executive Committee approved a statutory consultation on this matter, which started on 15 January and, following an extension requested by some parents, will run until 15 March.

“The options to consider are whether to continue providing the current level of service, or a service that is more in keeping with the rest of Scotland and more in line with our statutory levels of service provision.

“Pressures on the budget for Education, and indeed the wider council budget, mean we have to consider all options.

“This is a result of severe financial constraints on the service.

“If we do proceed with this proposal, it means that the impact of budget cuts that directly affect pupils’ learning and classroom resources can be lessened.

“I understand that this proposal may cause some anxiety as we move forward with the consultation. It is important that everyone’s views are listened to, and that is the purpose of the consultation.”

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