Parents demand free transport for children after branding walk to Codsall High School 'dangerous'
More than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling on Staffordshire County Council to provide free school transport.
Pupils from Codsall High School, aged upwards of 13, who live within three miles have to make their own way to the school, according to government rules.
Campaigners, however, have complained that the walking route along Heath House Lane is unsafe due to levels of ‘debris’ and the state of the pavement.
HAVE YOUR SAY:
Kathryn Hart, who started the petition, said: “I originally set up the petition because I felt and still do feel very strongly about the children getting to school safely and being fair to all families in Perton.
“Perton is a village separate from Codsall and regardless of where you live in Perton walking to Codsall is a very dangerous route with lots of obstacles along the way.
“There are no pedestrian crossings to cross the very busy A41 and Heath House Lane is also a very busy road with an extremely narrow footpath which is full of debris.
“The footpath runs out half way down, whereby you have to cross over the busy road near a bend.
“One week into the summer holidays, the parents of Perton who live under three miles from Codsall High School received notification from Staffordshire County Council that the bus they were originally using had been cancelled and they had to either pay £625 or walk to school.
“This was a huge increase for all of the families with only five weeks notice before starting school.
“My son is going into year seven so this change doesn’t affect our family as yet, however, it worried me and I decided to find out if we came under three miles away from Codsall High School.
“During this wait I joined the Perton Action for Safe School Travel (PASST) page on Facebook.
“I suggested setting up an online petition and within the first few days we had over 1,000 signatures, which showed how the people of Perton felt and we soon realised that this had been an ongoing problem for many years. We are now over 2,000 signatures and it’s increasing every day.”
Liz Dew, 43, mother of a pupil at the school, said: “Staffordshire County Council has stated that our walking route is safe. There’s no independent assessment of the route and therefore it’s unfair and biased because the route isn’t safe.
"The condition of the pavement is so bad and that’s because lorries and buses pass each other over and over again on the pavement.”
She is calling for an independent assessment on the safety of the road.
Staffordshire County Council said, in line with government policy, it is not required to provide transport for people within three miles.
Philip White, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Learning and Employability, said: “The council has a duty to arrange transport for children who qualify for free school travel and, in line with national rules, this is done for children who live more than three miles from Codsall High School.
“If there are any spare seats on our school buses these may be available to buy for pupils not eligible for free travel at a cost of £625 for the school year, which equals about £1.65 a trip. This is entirely optional for parents, who may make other arrangements.
“Walking routes to school are reviewed by officers and this one is considered safe for use, however we are happy to reassess this one in the new school term when traffic conditions are representative of a normal school day.”