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Aileen Campbell, SNP MSP for Clydesdale, has reacted with disappointment to the news that South Lanarkshire Council has confirmed the changes to their policy for transporting children to secondary schools. The council’s provision now only just meets the legal minimum of 3 miles. The proposals were included in the council’s budget for 2015/16 which was approved by the Labour majority administration on the 19th of February. Other controversial measures which the council are implementing include the withdrawal of free school milk for children. The consultation on the proposed changes ended on the 13th of May.

Ms Campbell said:

"Parents have quite rightly been concerned about what this arbitrary cut-off means in practical terms. That’s why I wrote to the council outlining the problems with their proposals, which would see first-year pupils walking along twisty country roads, frequented by heavy goods vehicles, in inclement weather and on dark winter mornings and afternoons. Whilst the officials are correct in saying that this policy came about as a direct result of the Labour administration’s budget, it is disappointing that so little heed was paid to the concerns of those affected.

"The net effect of the change will see increased congestion around our schools as more parents take their children to school by car. This new change will also be a blow to the hard-pressed local businesses who have contracts with the council to take the children to school at the moment.

"As we work to improve achievement and equality in the classroom such a measure is very much a retrograde step and the council’s approach to this change has done little to reassure the parents of those involved. It does not appear that they have fully considered the impact of this measure on the educational opportunity of those they expect to walk an hour each way just to receive the education they are entitled to by law. If they had, the effect of these proposals on the equality of opportunity for our young people would have meant ruling them out when they were first mooted."

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Aileen Campbell MSP, Kirkton Chambers, 12 Kirkton Street, Carluke ML8 4AB • 01555 750 249 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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