VIDEO: Parents and pupils in protest march over threat to school bus service

Story by Ann Casey

Friday, 17th May, 2019 10:22am

VIDEO: Parents and pupils in protest march over threat to school bus service

Parents and pupils bus protest

A group of parents, students, teachers and supporters marched from Windtown to Beaufort College this morning to highlight the threat to the Windtown School Bus Service.

Worried parents were highlighting the imminent threat to the bus service, which is part of a school completion project that has halved the rate of absenteeism and brought attendance up to 94 per cent among students from that area.

They are warning that if the service is shelved, it will destroy the future of a certain percentage of students from the area.

A campaign committee was established to try and save the service which is jeopardy because of lack of funding.  A protest was also held outside Monday's meeting of Meath County Council.

The hugely successful  pilot initiative run by Flexibus, which sees 54 students brought by bus to school in Beaufort College each day, has dramatically improved school attendance.

“A further 20 expected to join in September. If funding is not secured over the coming few weeks this vital community service will be lost forever,” says Cllr Edward Fennessy.
The transport initiative was introduced for the 2017 school year and now sees three 18 seater buses bringing the young people to school in time for breakfast club and home after homework club.
Prior to its introduction absenteeism from the area was 19.8 per cent, there were problems with punctuality, referrals to the educational welfare office, no student had full attendance records and there were students who didn’t go to secondary school at all and others who didn’t progress from first year to second year.

Since the introduction there has been full transfer of students from primary school to secondary school, 100 per cent transfer from first year to second year, absenteeism has been halved and there are eight students this year with full attendance records.

The protest march started at Naomh Scoil Eoin in Windtown and proceeeded through Navan taking just over an hour to complete the 4.2km journey to Beaufort College.