MP called in to help over school bus row

ONLINE RESPONSE: The original article as it appeared on The Northern Echo website

ONLINE RESPONSE: The original article as it appeared on The Northern Echo website

First published in News by , Reporter (Darlington)

A MOTHER who criticised Darlington Borough Council for not allocating her daughter a school bus seat has asked the town’s MP to look into the matter.

As The Northern Echo previously reported, Linda Robinson was prepared to pay for a place on the school bus to transport her 11-year-old daughter Abigail to Carmel RC College three miles away from her Faverdale home.

Mrs Robinson was told that there was no seat for Abigail and the article generated a large response online, attracting more than 50 comments on The Northern Echo website.

Many comments were in sympathy and support of Abigail’s plight, whilst others suggested that the school or the church itself should step in and pick up the tab.

Mrs Robinson has now asked Darlington MP Jenny Chapman to look into the way that Darlington Council allocates school bus seats and has lodged a Freedom of Information Request with the authority to find out more about how many seats are allocated and where.

She said: “There just seems to be an inequality to it.

“What has come to light since the article went out is that there is a child on the next street from me and she has been allocated a paid seat on the bus.

“They (the council) have not judged the distance from the nearest bus stop, but from people’s front door, which is ludicrous because everybody would gather at a bus stop; the bus doesn’t pick children up from their doorsteps.”

Mrs Robinson also suggested that the council should revise its policy to give priority to younger children starting secondary school for the first time.

She said: “I think it is important that they look at age; I think a 15 or 16-year-old’s seat should be given up if there is an 11-year-old child starting for the first time.”

Mrs Robinson added: “Sometimes you feel strongly enough about something to make a stand and say ‘this isn’t right’.”

A Darlington council spokeswoman said that the authority’s stance had not changed since the first article in which it stated that Abigail’s circumstances do not meet the criteria outlined in the national guideline policy.

Here are a selection of comments left by readers online:

Belladarlo said: “The council seem to forget the kids are carrying heavy books, PE kits, cookery etc.....even most hardworking families cannot afford £7+ per week per child if they are lucky enough to get a place...it's going to be a real struggle if my 2 do not get a free place.

Homshaw1 said: “Front Line services in Darlington are really very poor. This is a big problem for the parents and dangerous for the children.”

Don king said: “I'm only 164 metres short of the catchment and I still cannot get a free bus pass for my daughter! And she has 4.2 miles to walk!!!!”

Jandarlo said: “You chose this school, it wasn’t forced upon you. Any issues with travel to and from it then get the catholic church to subsidise the travel costs rather than the council tax payers in this town!”

Comments (10)

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3:08pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Charmed22 says...

Mrs Robinson states that a "15 or 16-year-old’s seat should be given up if there is an 11-year-old child starting for the first time.” So, then the parents of those children would no doubt complain about their child having to walk, I know I would.

Whatever the age I would not like to think my child was walking to and from school in this day and age, especially in the winter months. In the previous article Mrs Robinson stated that for the foreseeable her daughter would be driven to school, what's happened to that plan?
Mrs Robinson states that a "15 or 16-year-old’s seat should be given up if there is an 11-year-old child starting for the first time.” So, then the parents of those children would no doubt complain about their child having to walk, I know I would. Whatever the age I would not like to think my child was walking to and from school in this day and age, especially in the winter months. In the previous article Mrs Robinson stated that for the foreseeable her daughter would be driven to school, what's happened to that plan? Charmed22
  • Score: 6

3:31pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Mike2012 says...

Wow, talk about pathetic! If you CHOSE the school, then it's upto you to MAKE SURE your child can get there! Don't rely on the Council to come to the rescue. If you knew the milage before applying you have no excuses!!
Wow, talk about pathetic! If you CHOSE the school, then it's upto you to MAKE SURE your child can get there! Don't rely on the Council to come to the rescue. If you knew the milage before applying you have no excuses!! Mike2012
  • Score: 11

4:05pm Sat 9 Aug 14

ronno72 says...

WHY NOT CATCH THE SERVICE 16A BUS TO SCHOOL LIKE THE KIDS FROM WEST PARK AND HIGH GRANGE DO. I BELIEVE IT IS RUN BY SCARLET BAND.
WHY NOT CATCH THE SERVICE 16A BUS TO SCHOOL LIKE THE KIDS FROM WEST PARK AND HIGH GRANGE DO. I BELIEVE IT IS RUN BY SCARLET BAND. ronno72
  • Score: 15

5:38pm Sat 9 Aug 14

darloboss says...

ronno72 wrote:
WHY NOT CATCH THE SERVICE 16A BUS TO SCHOOL LIKE THE KIDS FROM WEST PARK AND HIGH GRANGE DO. I BELIEVE IT IS RUN BY SCARLET BAND.
what and let her little cotton bud catch a public service bus
[quote][p][bold]ronno72[/bold] wrote: WHY NOT CATCH THE SERVICE 16A BUS TO SCHOOL LIKE THE KIDS FROM WEST PARK AND HIGH GRANGE DO. I BELIEVE IT IS RUN BY SCARLET BAND.[/p][/quote]what and let her little cotton bud catch a public service bus darloboss
  • Score: 6

6:17pm Sat 9 Aug 14

BreastBoner says...

Send your daughter to Branksome, if her walk to school is the most pressing of issues. In anything you do in life, you make your choices in full knowledge of the facts and live with your decision. Suck it up and stop whingeing. Other kids are walking further distances to school than your child. I had a girls in my school who was from Pakistan and she walked to school and home again each day.
Send your daughter to Branksome, if her walk to school is the most pressing of issues. In anything you do in life, you make your choices in full knowledge of the facts and live with your decision. Suck it up and stop whingeing. Other kids are walking further distances to school than your child. I had a girls in my school who was from Pakistan and she walked to school and home again each day. BreastBoner
  • Score: 8

1:04am Sun 10 Aug 14

theWorkerScum says...

BreastBoner wrote:
Send your daughter to Branksome, if her walk to school is the most pressing of issues. In anything you do in life, you make your choices in full knowledge of the facts and live with your decision. Suck it up and stop whingeing. Other kids are walking further distances to school than your child. I had a girls in my school who was from Pakistan and she walked to school and home again each day.
From Pakistan, that's a bit of a commute.
[quote][p][bold]BreastBoner[/bold] wrote: Send your daughter to Branksome, if her walk to school is the most pressing of issues. In anything you do in life, you make your choices in full knowledge of the facts and live with your decision. Suck it up and stop whingeing. Other kids are walking further distances to school than your child. I had a girls in my school who was from Pakistan and she walked to school and home again each day.[/p][/quote]From Pakistan, that's a bit of a commute. theWorkerScum
  • Score: 11

3:49pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Homshaw1 says...

BreastBoner wrote:
Send your daughter to Branksome, if her walk to school is the most pressing of issues. In anything you do in life, you make your choices in full knowledge of the facts and live with your decision. Suck it up and stop whingeing. Other kids are walking further distances to school than your child. I had a girls in my school who was from Pakistan and she walked to school and home again each day.
Parents do the best they can for their children and this highlights another problem which is the difference in the outputs achieved by different schools. Where you are born, your parents and which school you go to can make a massive difference to your prospects in life

Go to some areas of Darlington and you can tell from talking to the children that they are intelligent but they are really poorly educated.

Can't blame parents for wanting a good education for children.

You lose maximum working tax credits when household income exceeds £6400 which isn't very much
[quote][p][bold]BreastBoner[/bold] wrote: Send your daughter to Branksome, if her walk to school is the most pressing of issues. In anything you do in life, you make your choices in full knowledge of the facts and live with your decision. Suck it up and stop whingeing. Other kids are walking further distances to school than your child. I had a girls in my school who was from Pakistan and she walked to school and home again each day.[/p][/quote]Parents do the best they can for their children and this highlights another problem which is the difference in the outputs achieved by different schools. Where you are born, your parents and which school you go to can make a massive difference to your prospects in life Go to some areas of Darlington and you can tell from talking to the children that they are intelligent but they are really poorly educated. Can't blame parents for wanting a good education for children. You lose maximum working tax credits when household income exceeds £6400 which isn't very much Homshaw1
  • Score: -5

6:11pm Sun 10 Aug 14

pensioner2 says...

You havn't really shown the best route to the school anyway. If she walks up West Auckland Road as far as Prior Street there is a lollipop lady who can see her across West Auckland Road, so if she crosses there and down Prior Street- past the catholic junior school, then crosses with another lollipop lady at Cockerton Green she can then go across, where the new flats are, that used to be a home for the elderly-past cockerton garage- and through the cut to Staindrop Road, where there is yet another lollipop lady to see her safely across Staindrop Road. From there its straight up Swaledale Avenue- along with the many Carmel school kids that already go that way, to Nunnery Lane, a short walk along Claire Avenue and then directly into school the back way (the "alley" opposite the post box at the Hillclose Avenue junction) which is what lots of kids already seem to do. When my wife was young she had to walk all the way from Skerne Park to Eastbourne Comprehensive- no free buses then (and they didn't go to Hummersknott either). People are always complaining these days about kids not getting enough exercise, well this is her chance to do so. She won't be short of fellow school companions walking that route, plenty of them already do.
You havn't really shown the best route to the school anyway. If she walks up West Auckland Road as far as Prior Street there is a lollipop lady who can see her across West Auckland Road, so if she crosses there and down Prior Street- past the catholic junior school, then crosses with another lollipop lady at Cockerton Green she can then go across, where the new flats are, that used to be a home for the elderly-past cockerton garage- and through the cut to Staindrop Road, where there is yet another lollipop lady to see her safely across Staindrop Road. From there its straight up Swaledale Avenue- along with the many Carmel school kids that already go that way, to Nunnery Lane, a short walk along Claire Avenue and then directly into school the back way (the "alley" opposite the post box at the Hillclose Avenue junction) which is what lots of kids already seem to do. When my wife was young she had to walk all the way from Skerne Park to Eastbourne Comprehensive- no free buses then (and they didn't go to Hummersknott either). People are always complaining these days about kids not getting enough exercise, well this is her chance to do so. She won't be short of fellow school companions walking that route, plenty of them already do. pensioner2
  • Score: 6

10:50pm Sun 10 Aug 14

darloboss says...

buy a house closer to your chosen school
buy a house closer to your chosen school darloboss
  • Score: 4

7:26pm Mon 11 Aug 14

oliviaden6 says...

And there me was thinking the NHS and Government bodies were advocating exercise exercise to reduce obesity and promote good health, when i was a nipper i had a bus ride and a walk at each end of the bus ride and my parents had to pay for it, there is to much **** footing and pampering the young generation today.
And there me was thinking the NHS and Government bodies were advocating exercise exercise to reduce obesity and promote good health, when i was a nipper i had a bus ride and a walk at each end of the bus ride and my parents had to pay for it, there is to much **** footing and pampering the young generation today. oliviaden6
  • Score: 3

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