Get our kids to school safely

Parents are having to go to Cathedral Primaray at closing time as there's no longer a bus to take many pupils home to Jerviston.
Parents are having to go to Cathedral Primaray at closing time as there's no longer a bus to take many pupils home to Jerviston.

Parents warn their children face a dangerous walk to school in Motherwell after being told there are no longer places for them on a bus.

Jerviston families say pupils have been bussed to Cathedral Primary for many years and are urging North Lanarkshire Council to think again after changes were made last month.

They believe Merry Street with its sections of narrow pavement is unsafe for children walking and are dreading the dark winter mornings ahead.

However, the education authority says all Jerviston children entitled to free transport are still being bussed and insists it’s the parents’ responsibility to get youngsters to and from school safely.

One mum, Kirsty Gillon, said parents were shocked to find the single decker which had taken more than 30 children to Cathedral had been replaced by a minbus seating only 16.

She said: “I’m a single mother and work so I relied on the bus for my son. All we’ve been told is we are outside the school catchment area so we can’t get bus passes.

“We’ve even offered to pay to use a bus which takes children from Jerviston to Muir Street Primary and has spaces, but the council won’t entertain that.”

Laura Cuthbert explained that parents are now taking it in turn to walk with groups of children.

She said: “Merry Street’s very dangerous. It’s hard enough walking along there with your own child but when you have responsibility for the safety of three or four others it’s too much.

“I’m worried with the winter ahead.”

Another parent, Emma Sweeney, added: “I don’t trust my son, who’s in Primary 6, to walk alone as I’ve seen him slip off the pavement.”

North Lanarkshire Council said the children affected do not qualify for free bus travel as they do not live more than a mile from Cathedral Primary and are within the catchment area of Our Lady and St Francis Primary in Carfin.

They were till now getting on the bus because it was combining two routes.

A spokesman explained: “The contract for Jerviston to Cathedral Primary was combined with one taking Cleland pupils to Taylor High School. However, due to the introduction of the 33-period week and the different times at Taylor this is no longer possible and the contract was split.

“The new contract has a 16-seater and 13 pupils are entitled to free transport, with three continuing to get privilege transport. All parents have a duty to ensure their child gets to school safely and transport is provided for primary pupils who live more than one mile away from their local primary.”