'It's not safe': Head wades into Perton to Codsall school walk row
A school is to splash out on minibuses after its headteacher waded into the row over an ‘unsafe’ road, declaring: “I would not want my children to walk down there.”
Three minibuses will transport the 90 Codsall High School students, aged 13 and upwards, from Perton to the school, after criticism of the walking route along Heath House Lane.
The school is to fund the minibuses, but parents will have to fork out £87 per term per pupil – which they say they are happy to do so for the time being.
Headteacher Alun Harding insists the minibuses are only a short-term fix as the school can only fund them until Christmas.
WATCH: Protestors and school headteacher speak out
Campaigners have been locked in a bitter row with Staffordshire County Council over the walking route, which they say is dangerous and unsafe due to the levels of debris.
Government rules state pupils living within three miles of a school have to walk.
The council has agreed to reassess the route, which it deems safe, later this year.
But the school has stepped in to provide pupils with transport in the meantime.
- MORE: Parents demand free transport for children after branding walk 'dangerous'
- MORE: Perton school walk protestors secure council review over safety
Mr Harding, the executive headteacher of Codsall High Federation, said: “We want the route to be reassessed.
"I believe it’s not a safe road and I would not want my children to walk down that road.
"We took the decision to source minibuses so we can provide transport.
"We now have a number of minibuses that do shuttle runs in the morning and at the end of the day as well.
“There are three or four operations in the mornings so we had to draft in additional drivers.
"We did it for the first day last Tuesday and I have a meeting with someone from the local authority where I’m hoping we can take a step in the right direction.
“Parents have been very supportive and really happy about it, but it’s at our own cost so we’ve had to use funds from around the school in the short-term to pay for it.”
Liz Dew, a mother of a pupil at Codsall High School and member of Perton Action for Safe School Travel, said: “The school has gone above and beyond what they need to do.
"It’s quite clear that if they thought the route is safe they would not have done this.
"But it’s coming at a cost and obviously that’s really poor because the school should be spending that money on teaching.”
An independent assessment into the route, carried out by campaigners, will take place in the near future alongside the council’s assessment.