The SNP have called the council to account

Campaigners are furious over the council's decision to axe school transport.
Campaigners are furious over the council's decision to axe school transport.

Last week’s Advertiser broke the news that some children attending local schools will no longer receive free transport.

Now SNP councillors have waded into the argument by tabling a motion to reinstate school transport for pupils attending Dalkeith and St David’s High Schools, following the shock announcement that the services had been slashed.

Tabling the motion, Cllr Dianne Alexander said: “This announcement has come out of the blue for parents and the council have done themselves no favours by the lack of communication and consultation.

“The council have an opportunity now to pause, reflect and listen to the voices of parents and pupils and carry out adequate consultation.”

Seconding the motion, Cllr Kelly Parry said: “Parents are rightly furious about this – and the lack of transparency and communication is really troubling. In February I warned councillors that the impacts of February’s budget was lacking in transparency and an adequate assessment in the impact, and I am very disappointed to be proven right.”

The motion reads: “Midlothian Council believes that every child should have an equal opportunity to access the excellent and inclusive education we have in Midlothian. But by extending the distance of provision of school transport from two to three miles will disadvantage the pupils living in this extended radius which covers Mayfield and Easthouses, some of our most deprived areas, and may impact on their future attainment.

The council has previously said: “This difficult decision was taken by the council as part of efforts to balance the budget.

“Safer walking routes have been identified with adequate pavements, pedestrian crossings and lighting. Routes will continue to be reviewed and adapted to make them as safe as possible.

“As part of this, the Easthouses Road speed limit will be reduced to 30mph ahead of the new school year.

“Public transport is available from Eskbank, Easthouses and Mayfield for those who do not wish to drive, car share, walk or cycle to school.”