Gavin Williamson backs parents in Codsall High School transport row
Gavin Williamson has backed a campaign for students to be given free transport instead of having to walk to school along an ‘unsafe’ route.
The South Staffordshire MP has lent his support to the Perton Action for Safe School Travel (PASST) campaign, after parents complained about the walking route to Codsall High School, along Heath House Lane.
Government rules state pupils who live within three miles have to walk.
But PASST insist the route that students from Perton have to walk is unsafe and Staffordshire County Council should provide free transport.
Now Defence Secretary Mr Williamson has called on the council to carry out a review of the route, which it has already agreed to do, and will be contacting the council to meet the assessor of the route.
He said: “Perton residents have my full support on this campaign: the safety of our children is an absolute priority.
“I have asked Staffordshire County Council to carry out a rapid review of the safety of this route and I very much hope that this will lead to changes that are long overdue.”
The MP met with campaigners Jess Davey and Liz Dew at Perton Village Show on September 15 to discuss the issue.
More than 2,400 people have signed a petition calling for free transport for the pupils.
Currently Codsall High School is paying for minibuses to transport the children to and from school, but this is only a temporary fix with funding due to run out by Christmas.
Staffordshire County Council has previously said the walk was safe.
Philip White, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Learning and Employability, said: “The council does not have a responsibility to provide transport for teenagers living within three miles of school and parents are free to make their own arrangements as they wish.
“How the school chooses to spend its budget on providing non-statutory services is a matter for its head and governing body.
“It is the council’s position that the walking route to Codsall High School is safe, but in recognition of parents’ concerns we have committed to reviewing the walking route.”