I’m deeply disappointed with the misleading impression your front page/page 2 lead story entitled ‘Outcry over special needs transport plan’ will give to parents.
In particular, to highlight the phrase ‘bloodbath’ to describe the new operator model in the front page sub-heading (repeated on page two headline for those who’d missed it), taken from a quote, will cause unnecessary anxiety to parents who read the publication.
To use a word like ‘bloodbath’ to suggest lives are at risk and the connotations it evokes is totally irresponsible.
We note that you have quoted one resident with concerns for their child and their child’s passenger assistant but this hardly constitutes an ‘outcry’ as you state in your headline.
While you do use the county council’s quote at the end of the article on page two, surely in the interests of balance and fairness to the structure of the article, by the third paragraph you could have stated something like: “But the county council has confirmed there will be no reduction in provision for transport and no change for entitlement for pupils – all will continue to receive it.” Or something similar.
It’s also odd there is no reference to school support for the new ‘one school/one operator model’, when you received comment from Spalding Special Schools Federation (SSSF).
Leaving this for another edition of your newspaper is all very well, but it doesn’t do anything for the reader’s perspective of balance and substance to this story.
Both the council and the SSSF appreciate that relationships of trust with transport operators can take time. We both acknowledge that in cases like these there will be some obvious anxiety and we’ll be doing our best to overcome this through continued support – expressed in further comment to your journalist.
This again would have given added context to the story.
While we are happy to provide comment over difficult issues and face up to criticism when it’s deserved, we do expect a reasonable balance and context to an article and its headlines.
EDITOR: I am happy with the story and the fact we published the schools’ views in another edition. The main focus had to be on the reactions of children and their parents.