Transport turmoil on the way

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A distraught Inishowen mum has told the Journal she’s ‘more than annoyed’ her children are being separated and made to go to different schools because of ‘bureaucratic red tap’.

Because of new transport guidelines the mum, who has asked not to be named, has been told her son will not be sent to the same secondary school as his big sister because it’s further away than the other school - for the bus to travel to.

Many other families will be hit with the same problem.

The upset mum said: “I am so angry that the parental and pupil choice surrounding post primary education has been removed at the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen.

“It means my son will not have the support of his sister as he negotiates his way around a bigger - and perhaps scarier - school environment.

“These changes to the transport scheme will cause massive disruption to our family life. My children are being forced to attend schools on opposite sides of Inishowen - this situation is just ludicrous.”

The catchment area system initially provided school transport for a pupil living more than 4.8 kilometres from his or her designated post-primary school.

But now, the department of education have said pupils who were originally eligible will continue to be in the 2012-2013 school year.

A local principal has also hit out against the plans saying it’s clear ‘transport is no longer a school responsibility. The head teacher who also asked not to be named, said: “I believe the changes to the post-primary school transport scheme will have far-reading repercussions for schools in Inishowen.

“Families will be faced with the prospect of their children being split up and having to attend different schools.

“During the tendering process, transport providers could determine a particular route to one school as shorter than the route to another school, despite the fact that a bus may never actually take the measured route.”

Hard-pressed Inishowen families have also been notified the cost of school transport is increasing. The annual charge per pupil is increased from to Euro 350 per year. However, the family maximum remains at E650.