10 feet too close - girls miss out on free travel
SO NEAR YET SO FAR: From left, neighbour Nicola Slevin holding daughter Lauren (two), with elder daughters Ruby Turner, four, and Holly Turner, six, in front; Councillor Cara Hilton; and Gillian Wilson with two-year-old son John and daughters Abbey and Aimee outside the Wilsons' home (second left). If they lived in the home on the far left of the photograph, Abbey and Aimee would be entitled to free bus transport to their school
TWO young sisters have been refused a bus pass because their home is 10 FEET under the one-mile requirement for free transport.
However, while Abbey Wilson (7) and sister Aimee (5) have to walk the 0.99 miles to school and the same back, the kids living next door are entitled to free travel.
Angry parents Gillian and Peter challenged the decision but according to Fife Council, the Wilson home in Linnet Way is a hop, skip and jump too close to Carnegie Primary School, opened by First Minister Alex Salmond last year.
The local authority has been asked to show "some common sense and compassion" by local councillor Cara Hilton.
Young Abbey's education had already been affected by council mishandling of education in Dunfermline's eastern expansion area (DEX).
She could not get into the school nearest to her Duloch home and had to travel to the 'virtual' Carnegie Primary in Inverkeithing until the real one was built.
Mum Gillian, who also has a younger son John not yet at school, said, "We've thought about moving the kids to Duloch now but Abbey says she doesn't want to move as all her friends are at Carnegie.
"We spoke about it the other day and she said 'Carnegie's the best school in Scotland - Alex Salmond said it' - and that Duloch didn't want her when she was younger. I've had to walk up and down to the school in all weathers with Abbey, with John in the buggy and Aimee before she started at school.
"We've been trying to get this sorted out with the council for a year. Last week they came out to measure the distance and they say we are 10 feet too close.
"The place they measure to is not where the youngsters have to walk to so they are walking more than a mile anyway."
Sometimes the girls get a lift from their gran but the parents say they cannot afford to pay bus fares of £2.40 every day especially with another son coming up to go to the school.
Gillian is a member of the parent council at Carnegie Primary and is fund-raising co-ordinator.
She added, "It's not the school's fault, it's the council."
Another close neighbour, Nicola Slevin, is also angry that her six-year-old daughter Holly misses out.
Nicola said, "I have Holly in P2, one child in nursery and another aged two so we've all had to walk up there every day in the past year. I'm up there three times a day.
"We were forced to go to Carnegie by the council because the school on our doorstep was full so you would have thought the kids would have got a free bus pass to get there.
"The council seem to be bloody-minded over the bus passes. It's just a case of 'Tough, you don't qualify'."
Dunfermline South councillor Cara Hilton said, "I've written to Donna Manson (Fife Council education officer) asking for her to reconsider the decision not to give Abbey Wilson a free bus pass given that she only misses out by 0.01 miles.
"Rules are rules but Fife Council should also exercise some common sense and compassion."
Louise Playford, Fife Council service manager (school estate), said, "Current Fife Council policy states that free school transport is provided for primary school pupils who live more than one mile from their catchment primary school.
"The distance is measured using the shortest reasonable walking route from the front gate of the pupil's home to the nearest pedestrian entrance of the school grounds.
"Whilst it may be frustrating for those living close to the distance limit, the policy is in place to ensure consistency and fairness."
This article appeared in Dunfermline Press 07 Sep 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Sep 7, 09:26
"You are entitled to free school transport if you live more than one mile from your catchment primary school and more than two miles from your catchment secondary school"
Their catchment school is Duloch, which they could easily walk to. They are choosing to go to Carnegie "Mum Gillian, who also has a younger son John not yet at school, said, "We've thought about moving the kids to Duloch now but Abbey says she doesn't want to move as all her friends are at Carnegie. " Choice is choice and all parents who have children at Carnegie who should have gone to Duloch should have to free bus removed as the school is in Halbeath, not Inverkeithing now. Either the children walk, which is good for them and will take 15 minutes or they pay for a bus. Choice!!
Recommend? Yes 95 No 7
Sep 7, 11:02
Sep 7, 14:50
my granddaughter lives just round the corner from Crossford school and would love to walk to school on her own, why can't she, because of all the lazy,stupid minded parents who park both sides of the road with not a care in the world about children and (adults) who have to take risks and hope that a car does not pass while they negotiate through a space between cars, and when it rains, well it is like the M25, all because they can't or won't walk!!!!!!!!
Recommend? Yes 63 No 5
Sep 8, 14:37
A mile ?
I wish I'd only had a mile I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, (pause for laughter), eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay y' mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."
Recommend? Yes 18 No 7
Sep 8, 16:20
Sep 8, 17:30
Sep 8, 18:41
Yep this sucks big style! My son lives on opposite side of street to his friend who is entitled to Free transport, yet Im expected to fork out £10 PER WEEK for buses to and from school - how the heck is this fair! I cant afford it anymore than the woman across the street! Disgusting! Have spoken to head teacher and Transport for Fife Council and they refuse point blank to give him a bus pass, absolute disgrace!
Recommend? Yes 5 No 37
Sep 9, 09:10
How about walking the kids or organising a walking bus? Nah, much easier to just moan to the Press.
Presumably if the council move the boundary you'd end up with another mum complaining, then another and another until the whole world gets free bus travel to Duloch PS.
I was started primary in the late 80s and I simply walked to school! The woman complaining about having to go three times a day is an idiot. She does realise only her children would get free fares and not her? Continue to walk your children instead of being so lazy.
Recommend? Yes 36 No 4
Sep 9, 21:41
Never had the option of free school travel or driven to school in my day...round trip no less than a mile per day from age of five to 18....did me no harm...not obese...still can walk the 2 miles to town twice a week, but get the bus back!
Is it the kids or the parents that are lazy?
Recommend? Yes 18 No 2
Sep 9, 23:15
I live quite close to a (primary) school. Morning and evening the road (no - I' mistaken - that should read 'pavement') is clogged for quarter of a mile with fag-smoking mums conveying their fat little children to school and back. Walk? To idle to walk their own length.
Well done the 'press - another non-story.
Recommend? Yes 28 No 1
Sep 10, 10:50
I would be embarrassed to go in the paper and complain that my child had to walk a whole mile! I echo what others have said - no wonder we have an obese society! The transport folk have to create a "line" otherwise everyone would then complain about exceptions being made to others - where would they stop? And parents who have three journeys to make? Try to be positive & think about what the benefit is to your health too
Recommend? Yes 12 No 3
Sep 14, 11:53
the ppl who are sayin that its only mile its not u got to do 3 times a day witch is 3 miles aday and its not the fact that us parents wont walk it we have other children who struggle to walk all that distance its not fair how u are all sayin we are lazy thats so not true wen u have other small kids who have to do it day in and day out its them who is gettin tired and sore i would understand if it was only 1 mile a day but its not so have a bit of courtisy for the parents who have young children
Recommend? Yes 4 No 7
Sep 14, 13:15
Sep 14, 14:01
erm do u have to be so nasty its not ma fault i cant read or spell very well and u would not be sayin that if u have a 6 year old and a 4 year old and and new born walkin that everyday in ALL weathers u wld soon get fed up with i dont mind the walkin buit its the kids that suffer not me so get of ur high horse and stop bein such a nast peice of work
Recommend? Yes 4 No 5
Sep 14, 16:09
Well, of course, we had it tough. We used to 'ave to get up out of shoebox at twelve o'clock at night and lick road clean wit' tongue. We had two bits of cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at mill for sixpence every four years, and when we got home our Dad would slice us in two wit' bread knife.
Recommend? Yes 4 No 1
Sep 14, 19:46
I think going on about the distance in missing the point. These children were denied access to a primary school a stone's throw away from them because the school wasn't built big enough for the families living in the area that it was meant to serve. Their parents therefore feel that their children should allowed transport to the overspill school to which they were sent. I agree that a walk of a mile is not far, but with a five-year-old it takes closer to 40 minutes than 15 (as an adult would manage on their own, walking at a clip). Yes it sounds as if they can move schools now to Duloch, but they were sent to Carnegie and the children have been welcomed there and have become part of the Carnegie community, so to uproot them and move them away from their friends now wouldn't be easy. I think people are being a bit harsh on them - laziness is not the issue.
Recommend? Yes 13 No 5
Sep 20, 12:28
I did not miss the point, I read and understood what was in the article. "Their parents therefore feel that their children should allowed transport to the overspill school to which they were sent". All parents feel that, especially on frosty or rainy mornings. We cannot afford it though. Rules are rules and the council have published guidelines for all to see and read. If they can move school, across the road then so be it. If they continue at Carnegie then no free bus. Simple.
Recommend? Yes 1 No 5
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