Palmer calls on Minister to improve home to school transport for pupils

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A Lagan Valley MLA has urged the Stormont executive to speed up plans to improve home to school transport for pupils, claiming it could save local schools threatened by closure.

UUP MLA Mrs Jenny Palmer issued her challenge following a written question to the DUP Education Minister.

Mrs Palmer had asked the Minister of Education, in light of the recommendations made in the Independent Review of Home to School Transport 2014, what plans there are for reforming the delivery of home to school transport.

Mrs Palmer said a number of schools in the Lagan Valley area are concerned about the risks to their school.

She said: “It is absolutely vital that the Minister urgently sorts out the home to school transport issue as this could have a major bearing on the long-term survival of local schools, especially in rural areas, which may be faced with closure.

“If pupils can adequately get to their schools from home, it could mean the difference between a specific school remaining open for that community, or cuts and mergers having to be imposed on those communities. I have spoken privately to a number of schools in Lisburn and in primary schools they are very concerned.”