PARENTS of primary school pupils in Paisley have urged council bosses not to put their young children at risk by axing school buses.
Renfrewshire Council’s plan to stop school buses for secondary school pupils who don’t live more than three miles from their school has caused uproar among parents across the district.
The change will come in at the start of the new term in August - and affect hundreds of children who are in primary seven at the moment about to start secondary school.
Worried mums and dads at St Peter’s Primary in Glenburn, Paisley, have already held two meetings about the issue and are to hold another one on Monday, March 8.
Chair of the school’s parent council, Judith Eck, told the Paisley Daily Express: “Every meeting we have had, it is the safety of the kids that is concerning us more than anything.
“A P7 pupil going into first year isn’t as streetwise as a secondary school pupil.
“Parents are worried about the financial impact of their child needing two buses to get to school, and are also concerned that they won’t actually go to school.”
Mum-of-two Judith, who lives in Glenburn, said many parents had also raised the issue of having a child at secondary school and one at primary and are concerned about being in both places at the one time to make sure they get to school safely.
She said parents of pupils from primary four upwards had attended the meetings and were worried about their children who are due to start at St Andrew’s Academy in the next couple of years.
“They’re all thinking about the future,” Judith added. “People are saying it’s going to get worse rather than better.”
The council’s decision will affect more than 900 pupils currently at secondary schools across Renfrewshire, with St Andrew’s Secondary in Paisley and St Benedict’s High School in Linwood the worst affected.
Parents at both secondaries have been vocal in their outcry against the decision and have held a march and protest outside the council offices.
St Peter’s parent council has organised another public meeting in St Peter’s Parish Church on Monday, March 8, at 7pm to which they’ve invited all Renfrewshire councillors.
They’ve also set up a website - http://stpetersbuses.wikispaces.com - where parents can find out the latest on their campaign and download letters to send to local politicians.
Renfrewshire Council agreed the school bus plans at their budget meeting on Monday, January 18. The move will save £270,000 from their annual budget.
A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “We can assure parents that no change will be introduced at any school unless a safe walking route has been identified.
“Parents are being given detailed information about the proposed routes and we are looking into all the points they are raising with us.
“There will also be an appeals process for parents who wish to take that up.
“While Renfrewshire’s policy is changing, it also has to be pointed out that more and more councils are also bringing in the three mile qualification for secondary schools which is contained in the statutory guidelines.”
l An online petition set up by Wendy Alexander MSP against the bus cuts has received more than 400 signatures.
The petition calls on Renfrewshire Council to abandon their plans and can be found at www.ipetitions.com/ petition/renfrewshire-school-transport/