The Education Authority is to launch a review into the home-to-school transport policy for pupils across Northern Ireland.
The Department states that the review aims to examine and scrutinise the efficiency and value of the current system. Currently, 84,000 pupils take advantage of home-to-school transport, accounting for 26% of the school population. The Department has created an online survey for people to submit their thoughts on the current system, and it can be accessed via the link below”.
Mr Lewis, who is also on the board of Governors at Cumran Primary, said: “Many parents across our district rely on home-to-school transport to get their children to school safely in a rural area.
“For some families transporting children to school themselves each morning isn’t an option, due to work commitments or non-access to a vehicle.
“We are acutely aware that financial circumstance differs from home to home, meaning that for many, free transport is the only viable option to ensure their child gets to and from school.
““The Department would be aware that earlier this year NI4Kids sought opinions from parents in Northern Ireland about the current system of school transport. This produced research which found 86% of parents were concerned or extremely concerned about how they would meet the financial requirements of school transport for their children if the system was abolished.
“Surely the Department aren’t advocating further burdening hard working families by increasing financial hardship by unnecessarily removing home-to-school transport?
“Although the department has said no change can take place until a Minister is in post, I am calling on all political parties to make a clear commitment, if they take up the post after any further executive is established, that they will ensure that the vital home-to-school transport scheme remains accessible and unchanged, alleviating worry and stress for parents.
“I have written to primary schools within the Slieve Croob area highlighting my concerns inviting teachers, staff and parents to reply to the online survey which is open until March 2019.”