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PUPILS IN DANGER: Teacher calls for action
10:16am Wednesday 17th October 2012 in Lyme Regis
HEADTEACHER Dr Richard Steward fears it will take a serious accident to spur the authorities into action.
Dr Steward said although the school does everything it can to make sure the pupils are safe, a permanent solution is needed.
He said: “Parking is a perennial issue at Woodroffe. “The unfortunate combination of a large number of buses which arrive all at once, a cramped and entirely unsuitable bus bay, and hundreds of parents picking up their children from school, means that our staff have to work incredibly hard to make sure that everyone is safe and that things run smoothly.
“The safety of students in the bus bay is discussed almost weekly in school and we do as much as we can to ensure that the situation is handled as safely as possible. “However, it is clear that the situation needs to be addressed by authorities beyond the school. “Woodroffe does everything it can but it does not have the power or the funding to do the things which really need to be done.
“We need active support from Dorset County Council, and the highways department in particular, who need to work on a properly designed solution to the situation.”
He added: “We all fervently hope that it doesn’t take a serious accident to spur the relevant authorities into action.”
YEAR Seven pupil Kayleigh Tate relies on her mum to drive her to school – unless she wants to walk the seven-mile round trip from Charmouth.
Kayleigh, 11, has been refused a place on the school bus because Dorset County Council claims she lives less than three miles from Woodroffe.
Her mother Louise is furious she cannot travel to school with her friends and has even travelled to County Hall in Dorchester to confront officials.
Mrs Tate said: “Kayleigh has only just started senior school, she has got a lot on her plate and she just wants to go to school with her friends.
“She is very upset and very worried about it.”
The family live in Nutcombe Terrace in Charmouth – an AA route planner shows they live three-and-a-half miles from the school. Mrs Tate claims that other people living in the same street have been given passes.
“They are saying my daughter can walk safely to school and it’s under three miles,” she said.
“We have done several different routes and they all come over three miles.
“All these routes are main busy roads, some with no pavements and with poor lighting.
“It’s great in the summer when it’s nice, but come the winter or when we’ve got bad weather I wouldn’t even contemplate walking from Lyme Regis to Charmouth, let alone my 11-year-old daughter.
“Other people with the same postcode as us have got bus passes.
“I just don’t understand why the others are entitled to them. It’s one rule for them and another for her.”
Rick Perry, children’s services manager at Dorset County Council, said: “We do not comment on individual cases.
“To be eligible for school bus passes, families need to either live further than three miles from the school or are currently claiming benefits and be more than two miles away.”