Parents call for rethink over school bus pick-up point

Jo-Anne Dobson MLA with Councillor Glenn Barr and some of the Gilford parents who have voiced concerns about the removal of the school bus pick-up point.
Jo-Anne Dobson MLA with Councillor Glenn Barr and some of the Gilford parents who have voiced concerns about the removal of the school bus pick-up point.

A group of concerned parents have called on the Education Authority (EA) to reinstate a school bus pick-up point for pupils attending Tandragee Junior High School.

Residents of the Woodlands area of Gilford say that following recent changes, instigated by the EA and resulting in a new bus operator taking over the route, the pick-up point at the entrance to the estate, reportedly in place for decades, has been discontinued.

The decision, they say, means children must now be picked up at the Whinney Hill.

Residents enlisted the help of Jo-Anne Dobson MLA and Councillor Glenn Barr at a recent site meeting between EA officials and parents.

Mrs Dobson said: “Following written contact with the Education Authority and the Education Minister on behalf of the parents and pupils it became clear that a site meeting would be necessary.

“I am concerned that, despite the EA knowing that a historic pick-up arrangement existed for pupils at Woodlands, no one thought to even attempt to protect it or make alternative arrangements.

“The last thing a parent or pupil getting picked up by school bus should be thinking is whether this is an authorised or an unauthorised pick-up and I stand behind these parents in requesting that it be reinstated.”

The UUP MLA said the EA officials had listened to the parents’ concerns and “agreed to contact the new bus operator in an attempt to re-establish the pick-up point.”