PRIMARY school pupils in Warwickshire are getting their bus chaperones back, after Warwickshire County Council announced a U-turn on the issue today (Monday).
Transport assistants that look after school children as young as four were being axed as part of cuts to school transport, saving the council £1.4 million.
Parents were relieved their children’s safety had been taken into account, after more than 6,800 people sign-ed a petition against the cuts.
Yvette McEwan, who relies on the chaperone serving Tredington Primary School because her five-year-old daughter, Francesca, has cystic fibrosis, said: “I am very happy, very relieved. It is great news for the school and the children.”
Yvette, who was sent a letter over Christmas inform-ing her Tredington’s school chaperone would be removed in February, also has a four-year-old daughter, Yasmine.
“I will now be happy for my little one to use the bus when she starts in September, which I would not have allowed without the chaperone,” she said.
The council said they recognised the concerns expressed by parents and teachers, and had made the savings elsewhere.
Cllr Heather Timms (Cons, Earl Craven), the council’s portfolio holder for children, young people and families, said: “The council has been able to meet the £1.4million it identified as a necessary saving from the school transport programme through other measures, so we are willing to acknowledge the concerns of parents and schools and reverse this decision.”
“We actually only took chaperones off nine routes and we have already replaced one in the south of the county, at Avon Dassett.
“Fifty per cent of the chaperones were being retained anyway, so we looked at it, and decided it just did not make sense.”
The council initially said that removing the chaperones would save them £700,000, half of the £1.4 million cuts they outlined for the home-to-school transport system.
However, after lowering the price it pays contractors to operate the buses, coaches, and taxis, that take pupils to and from school, the council has made enough savings already.
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