A statement from the Education Authority (EA) regarding concessionary bus passes provided to students of St. Mary’s High School, Brollagh has been contradicted by the Head of the School’s Parents Council.

On the morning of Thursday September 29 a spokeswoman from the EA stated:

“Concessionary transport has been made available to students from Monday 25 September, subject to completion of the parental application and a signed agreement to the terms and conditions of concessionary transport.”

Jane Weir, Head of the School’s Parents Council, responded to the statement from the EA saying that “the matter is far from resolved.”

She continued:

“I have since contacted the parents affected - some children that held concessionary passes in the previous year, but not all, have been awarded concessionary passes, however it seems that all new students to the school have not been awarded concessionary passes yet.”

Ms. Weir explained that in one family there is the “ludicrous situation” where one child who held a concessionary pass last year has been awarded a pass today, however, their sibling, who is in their first year at the school, has not been awarded a pass.

The EA spokeswoman also stated:

“The Education Authority has continued to work closely with St. Mary’s High School and local representatives and has agreed to undertake a further review of transport arrangements.

“EA has commenced the safety assessments and will review the initial findings to identify any further action required.”

Although she welcomes the fact that the EA have commenced safety assessments, Ms. Weir believes that it is clear from the recent road safety assessments made by the PSNI and Department for Infrastructure (DFI) that the legal award of mandatory transport by the EA should follow as soon as possible.

She encourages the EA to liaise with the PSNI and the DFI on their recent assessment “to make every effort for an early resolution to this matter.”

She said: “We would therefore be grateful for a decision date from the EA, as children are now midway through the fourth week of the school term and still without transport.”

On a final note Ms. Weir added: “Children were left in tears as they were refused transport yet again.”