‘Non-entitled’ pupils will not be offered seats on school bus

Thursday August 6th 2020

School Bus

Written by Midlothian View Editor, Phil Bowen

Midlothian Council has written to parents today reagrding school transport arrangements for the new school year.

The Council will continue to deliver Home to School transport as per the current Midlothian Education Policy rule of 2 Miles for all pupils attending their catchment school. These pupils are referred to as being “Entitled” to school transport.

The council letter explains that the Transport Plan in place pre-Covid 19 lockdown will be re-established with limited changes as per the scientific advice received and the advice of the National Education Recovery Group.

However, one significant change that will affect a number of pupils in Midlothian is the decision that “Non Entitled” pupils will not be offered seats on any dedicated school routes at present during the Covid 19 pandemic. The council say they will review the situation every 3 months.

This decision will see parents having to make hasty alternative arrangements for their children at short notice.

In previous years parents have complained that the council is slow to advise on who has and has not gotten a place on a school bus with non-entitled usually having to wait several weeks after the start of the school year to be allocated a seat on the bus.

Last year there was uproar amongst when the council suddenly announced the axing of school bus services. A decision that the council later reversed before school started. Parents were angry at the lack of notice, consultation and an alternative safe walking route. There have been little or no changes to walking routes in the last year.

The council received £157k from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People programme. They only applied for £207k in contrast to East Lothian who received £1.4million. This programme is intended to provide councils with funds to provide temporary infrastructure for walking or cycling in response to the current pandemic. Some of the Midlothian money will be used to widen and resurface the path between Eastfield Industrial Estate and Beeslack High School via Beeslack Woods in Penicuik but other towns in Midlothian will not see any changes on school walking routes.

For those pupils taking the bus the council has said face covering must be worn and they ask that all pupils wash or sanitise their hands prior to boarding the bus.

A copy of the letter from the council can be READ HERE.

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