Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

End of the road for school buses to Crawfordsburn

Lesley HOUSTON

cteditorial@thect.co.uk

PARENTS of children at a local school feel they have been stranded after their school bus was axed after it was deemed no longer financially viable.

Up to six families who live in Holywood, many believed to live in Palace Barracks, are understood to be affected by the halt of the service to Crawfordsburn Primary School.

Parents have been left to make alternative transport arrangements, with those who do not drive facing particular uncertainty over how they will get their children to and from the Cootehall Road school.

The move follows the axing of a bus service to the school from Bangor's Lord Warden's Wood area at the end of last year's academic year.

Alex Easton MLA said he was surprised by the news and has called for the Board of Governors to reinstate the service to Holywood.

"This bus service persuaded many families from Holywood to choose Crawfordsburn as their first choice primary school, and for it to be stopped now without any consultation with the parents is both a shock and a blow.

"It could have the potential of having parents deciding to change schools only months into the school term."

Mr Easton said he has written to the school and the South Eastern Education and Library Board "to seek answers as to why this is happening, and to call for the Crawfordsburn Primary School Board of Governors to reverse their decision."

School principal Faithe Moffett told the Community Telegraph: "I can only reiterate what I told parents, that it's very regrettable but under the current financial climate the service is no longer viable."

Meanwhile, at least one pupil has been withdrawn from Crawfordsburn Primary School due to the axing of the bus which brought children from Lord Warden's Wood in Bangor.

One parent, who declined to be named, confirmed her family life had been affected by the loss of the bus service.

"One of the main attractions of moving there was because of the bus and it used to stop very close to our house and it was so convenient."

She conceded though that her family had not been as badly affected as some she knew, as she was able to ferry her children by car.

She expressed sympathy for parents who did not drive and who were now having to pay for taxis to ferry their children to school.

"There were just a few children when we first moved in but at the end there were quite a few children from here using the bus.

"However, I think it just wasn't being filled and the school was having to subsidise it quite heavily."

She added that she had heard of at least one child who had been withdrawn for the school because the bus had been axed.

"I have to do a lot more running back and forth now for two different pick ups and it's very congested at the school; it's a real nightmare with the narrow roads," she said.

Chairman of its board of governors Jonathan Kyle could not be contacted for comment.

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