calls for bus policy re-think as pupils face three-mile walk to
MP and a local district councillor have met the leader of Somerset
County Council in Brent Knoll this week amid concern that schoolchildren
are being forced to walk three miles to King Alfred School in
Highbridge due to changes in the county's school bus policy.
James Heappey and Brent Knoll district councillor Bob Filmer met
John Osman, the leader of Somerset County Council, to ask him
to reconsider the controversial policy changes that mean some
children no longer qualify to use the free school bus service.
three walked along the three-mile route that several children
are being expected to walk each day to reach Highbridge, demonstrating
to Mr Osman the dangers, as pictured here.
Bob Filmer told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Unfortunately, there's
been a change in the boundaries of where the kids are allowed
to be picked up by the school bus, so some of the houses that
used to be far enough away to qualify for the bus are now not
far enough away, therefore the children living there can't use
are several schoolchildren who live in Brent Street who are not
allowed to get on the school bus because the County Council believes
they can walk from here to King Alfred School - a distance of
almost three miles alongside the dangerous A38 even though it's
deemed to be 'the safe route to school'."
added: "There's a lot of concern among parents because they're
being advised to walk with their children to the school but that's
around three miles there and back and then the same again at the
end of the day - it's just not going to happen. Either children
will walk on their own, which is unsafe, or their parents will
be forced to use cars which is environmentally unsound. Because
we've recently lost our main bus service, the only bus coming
through in the morning is now the school bus so the children have
no other option."
James Heappey said he is keen to find a solution. He told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"Cllr Filmer and a number of parents in the village have
brought this up with me. It's a ridiculous situation where people
at one end of the village are getting free transport and others
at the other end are not."
concern is not only that this is silly, and that the bus drives
past kids expected to walk to school, but much more importantly
that the walk from Brent Knoll to King Alfred School is mostly
along the A38. We're asking 11 year-olds to walk in all weathers
almost three miles along a main road with very few proper crossing
points for an hour each way, each day."
think it's dangerous, not conducive to them having a good performance
at school, and I hope that common sense will prevail and we'll
be able to change the County Council's mind."
John Osmand said he would look into the matter in more detail
and a spokesman for Somerset County Council told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"We provide free school transport for children who attend
their nearest or designated transport area school and whose home
address is more than two miles as a walking route for children
aged under eight years old and three miles for children aged eight
any parent or carer disagrees with the decision and feels their
child should be entitled to free school transport, they can request
a school transport appeal. Details of how to do this are included
to parents in their decision letter."
Burnham MP James Heappey and Brent Knoll district councillor Bob
Filmer with John Osman, the leader of Somerset County Council,
in Brent Knoll this week