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Aileen Campbell MSP has condemned South Lanarkshire Council’s decision to change school transport eligibility limits. This council has approved plans to delay changes until 18 April 2016, and will continue to offer free transport to those pupils entitled to free school meals.

The council’s figures show that this will still leave over 90% of those due to be affected becoming ineligible for free transport when the amended proposals come into affect in April next year. Ms Campbell wrote to council leader Eddie McAvoy asking him to abandon the proposals after a local survey showed that nearly all the respondents in areas affected by the change disagreed with the proposals on safety grounds. Following the approval of the changes, Ms Campbell has also written to Education Scotland to query potential issues of stigma caused by the new eligibility scheme.

Commenting, Ms Campbell said:

"While South Lanarkshire Council has delayed the implementation of the changes, I still have serious concerns over the impact they will soon have on our children’s education. In a recent survey conducted by Clydesdale activists, those living in the areas affected by the proposals were nearly unanimous in their condemnation of them.

"I previously wrote to council leader, Eddie McAvoy, calling on him to reconsider the changes which so irresponsibly disregard safety. Following the approval of these changes, I have also contacted the Scottish Government to explore further difficulties of stigma surrounding the new eligbility scheme. Scottish Government has championed universality in our education system especially with the provision of free school meals, so Labour’s decision to implement these changes recklessly puts equality of education at risk.

"Every child deserves the best start in life so I will continue to fight against this decision which does nothing to address the fundamental concerns parents have. The continued transport provision for those entitled to free school meals recognises the necessity of helping those who need it most, yet fails to acknowledge the very real potential of creating additional stigma. The fact is, these proposals are a mess and the simple solution is to consign this proposal to the dustbin."

Surgeries

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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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