Peace bridge threatens free school transport

The opening of Derry’s Peace bridge could see hundreds of secondary school children in the city lose their free transport entitlement, education bosses have said.

The Western Education and Library Board says the bridge will cut the distance some pupils travel to school to less than the statutory three miles for post primary schools..

A WELB spokeswoman says an eligibility study is ongoing.

“The opening of the Peace Bridge will give pedestrian and cycle access from the Waterside to the City Side, and vice versa,” the spokeswoman says

“This means, in effect, that some pupils already in receipt of Home to School Transport Assistance will lose their entitlement, due to the distance from Home to School being less than the statutory three miles for post primary schools.

“A Survey to determine eligibility is ongoing. It will not be completed until all Year 8 pupils have been placed in post-primary schools and the distance measurements verified for all pupils affected by the Opening of the Peace Bridge.“

The WELB spokeswoman says the education board will write to all pupils affected

“Should any pupils in the primary sector, however, be affected by this Opening, the Board will communicate directly with the parents/guardians and schools concerned,” she says.

What do you think? Is it likely your child could be affected?

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