Anger over school bus snub

Parents and children protest outside the school
Parents and children protest outside the school

Parents are up in arms after being told their children will not be eligible for free bus transport to a newly-merged primary school.

The new Thomas Muir Primary School, in Bishopbriggs, will be opening after the Easter holidays on the site of the current Woodhill Primary School.

Pupils currently taught at Woodhill and Auchinairn primaries will move to the school – but some Auchinairn parents are facing a transport headache and say the council are ignoring their pleas for help.

Auchinairn Primary is close to the border between Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire council areas and many families on the Glasgow side made placing requests to have their children schooled there.

Children who were able to easily walk to school will now face an extra 1.5 mile journey.

While pupils from East Dunbartonshire get free bus transport if they live a mile away from school, the Glasgow pupils are not eligible for the service.

Gillian Kelly is one of the parents who is angry about the situation.

She explained: “Way back at the first consultations about the merger in 2013 we were assured that ALL children at the current school will be accommodated and transported.

“We didn’t ask the council to take away our local school, therefore it’s their problem now that Auchinairn children are being totally disadvantaged in every way.

“We sent our children to their local school because it’s within walking distance of their doorstep.

“Most do not have to drive which saves pollution and traffic and our childcare providers are next to the school.

“Older children can walk back and forth to school themselves quite happily and safe. This is now all up in the air.”

Ann Davie, Depute Chief Executive - Education, People & Business, said: “East Dunbartonshire Council’s policy clearly sets out that only pupils who live one mile or more away from the local catchment area primary school (by the shortest safe walking route) are entitled to free school transport.

“Any other child can apply for a concessionary place on school transport. These are allocated if there are places available.

“The council’s transport team are processing the applications for entitled and concessionary places for transport to the new Thomas Muir Primary.

“We will let parents know as soon as possible the allocation of places.”