Broken promise over school bus

Meisha Reynolds.
Meisha Reynolds.

A MUM has branded an academy a “school of broken promises” after being told her daughter is no longer eligible for transport.

Sarah Reynolds had been promised that her 13-year-old daughter Meisha’s concessionary bus pass would not be affected when the former St Guthlac School in Crowland, which she attends, federated with the former George Farmer Technology College to become the University Academy Holbeach last September.

But with just a few days to go until the new school year starts, Sarah, of Pilgrim’s Way, Spalding, has just been told that the 53-seater coach which transported children from Spalding to Crowland last year will be replaced with a 16-seater minibus – with no room on board for Meisha.

Instead the local education authority suggested Meisha catches a service bus or Sarah will have to take her there herself.

Sarah said: “I am at the end of my tether with it all.

“I only found out because I rang up to find out why Meisha’s bus pass hadn’t arrived and they told me a letter would be with me by the end of the week to say she would no longer receive one.

“It is just a load of broken promises because I was told nothing would change when the school became an academy.

“They have gone back on their word and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Sarah says service buses are not suitable as one leaves at 7.20am, arriving in Crowland at 7.40am – more than an hour before the school gates open – while the next would drop Meisha off a five minute walk away from school at 8.53am – just as the school day begins.

And taking Meisha to school herself is going to be very difficult as Sarah also has two younger children who need dropping off at primary school in Spalding, including a four-year-old just starting school this September.

Sarah, who closed her florist shop in Spalding’s Sheepmarket two years ago, is also starting a new job as a midday supervisor at the academy’s Holbeach campus next week.

She said: “Meisha’s bus pass was concessionary but it still cost us almost £300, but I am going to be spending a fortune on fuel if I have to take her to school myself every day.

“It is going to be a nightmare and I’m not sure how we are going to manage. I don’t think Meisha will be at school next week while I try to sort something out.”

l Following a call from The Spalding Guardian, Lincolnshire County Council has now promised to review Meisha’s situation.

David Robinson, school services manager, said: “We understand the difficulties the family face with this school transport issue and for that reason we will review this position and contact Mrs Reynolds shortly.

“We must stress however, that Meisha is not strictly entitled to free school transport to Crowland and has previously been travelling to school in a concessionary seat as there was a spare place.

“The council is only responsible for transport for those children entitled to it, but in this case we will provide extra support.”