A Moorlands mum has set up a petition to campaign for free bus passes for high school children who are having to walk a “dangerous” route in order to get to lessons. Laura Bailey, from Tean, has set up the campaign after Staffordshire County Council rejected her application for a free bus pass for her 13-year-old daughter because she now lives within a three-mile radius of her school after moving house.
A Moorlands mum has set up a petition to campaign for free bus passes for high school children who are having to walk a “dangerous” route in order to get to lessons.
Laura Bailey, from Tean, has set up the campaign after Staffordshire County Council rejected her application for a free bus pass for her 13-year-old daughter because she now lives within a three-mile radius of her school after moving house.
She says the road her daughter has to walk along in order to get to school – Cheadle Road on the A522 – is not safe, especially during winter.
Laura told the Times & Echo: “We had a decision through from the council that the application was rejected because she lived within walking distance from home to high school.
“I emailed them back saying it’s not safe at half past eight or nine o’clock in the morning when it’s wet and dark and cold and the pavement narrows.
“And the children can’t cross to the other side of the road because there is no pavement so they’ve only got that one option to walk on.
“I put all this to them but they said that it wasn’t really enough to meet the criteria.”
Now, Laura has decided to launch her own petition to try and get free bus travel for the area’s high school students.
She said: “My hope is that every single high school child in the Tean and Checkley area gets free travel to Cheadle Academy and Painsley (Catholic College) high schools safely.
“So far, they (the council) have issued my daughter with a temporary bus pass until the end of the Winter term, up until Christmas.
“It makes me feel bad because I know that everybody else doesn’t have that but because I’ve started a petition and I’m the one that is putting it out there, they’re giving my daughter a free pass until December while they assess the route again.
“It’s a 30 mile-per-hour road and no one really abides by that. In Winter, when it’s dark and cold and wet and the cars, HGV lorries and buses come down – it’s not safe.
“Where the pavement narrows, it’s on a really tight bend, which is the worst.
“All it needs is for a car to catch the bag of a child and then that’s it.
“If they are not going to give a pass then they need to make that route more safe.”
The petition – which can be found at www.change.org/p/staffordshire-moorlands-county-council-bus-transport-and-passes-for-high-school-pupils – has 160 signatures as of yesterday (Tuesday, October 5).
Laura is encouraging parents who haven’t yet signed the petition to do so and “keep fighting for a pass and not give up.”
She added: “If enough of us email the council, call the council and put the same message across then they might start to listen.”
Councillor Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Education and SEND, told the Times & Echo: “Above and beyond national guidance, the county council provides free home-to-school transport for pupils living more than a certain distance from school.
“Those living closer are expected to make their own way to lessons unless the walking route doesn’t meet the safety assessment guidelines, even when accompanied by an adult.
“We’re currently reviewing this particular route against those guidelines, which is why a temporary bus pass has been issued (to Laura’s daughter) and a decision will be made as soon as possible.”
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