School buses contract sorted but non-entitled pupils will have to wait

Wednesday August 15th 2018

Dalkeith High School

Written by Phil Bowen, Editor

The uncertainty over the school bus contracts, which need to be in place before Midlothian schools return, on Monday has been resolved.

A Midlothian Council spokesperson said

“Following the resolution of a legal challenge regarding the awarding of coach contracts, buses will be running as normal when schools return on Monday. Letters with information about each pupil’s designated bus will be with parents and carers by the end of this week.”

The council and the coach companies have been in dispute since May over the school bus contracts and one coach firm who missed out on a contract recently issued a legal challenge.

However, only pupils who are entitled to free bus travel to school will receive letters this week. Those pupils who are not entitled to free bus travel, as they live within two miles of their school or are out of catchment, will not hear for a number of weeks, as is the normal council practice. Their parents will have to put in place alternative arrangements until they hear if they have been given a place on the bus.

Midlothian View contacted the council to understand why non-entitled applications are not considered until early September, as this causes stress and anxiety for parents and pupils due to uncertainty and having to make alternative arrangements.

The council told us that this is because the council travel team do not have confirmed numbers for those attending school until the end of August as there are often late leavers or applications for non entitled transport have not been made. Once the team are satisfied with the numbers of entitled pupils on each vehicle then they start to allocate seats for non-entitled pupils.

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