Children in north Cornwall face a potentially dangerous long walk to school along narrow country lanes.
An ombudsman is to evaluate the journey for the children, a route some students use to attend Sir James’ Smith’s in Camelford daily. Previous officials from the council who performed two assessments on the walking route concluded it to be suitable for pedestrian use, but parents believe the route to be “downright dangerous” for their children to travel.
In September, Cornwall Council ended its policy of providing free bus passes to school for pupils who live less than three miles from their school in Camelford. This unexpected change currently affects 21 children going to school.
Despite concerned families’ appealing to reinstate the transport, the Cornwall Council’s Policy for Home to School says, “National policy and statutory legislation determine who is eligible for free home to school transport, and, unfortunately, due to the budgetary pressures on all councils at present, we cannot provide free transport for all.”
Parents and carers around Delabole created a petition that has been signed by over 4,000 people that highlights their challenges, saying that the road has no street lights, no pavement, and a limited phone signal. These weaknesses make the trek to school for children unsafe. On Facebook, updates about the petition say that an ombudsman has been contacted to look into the case.
Steve Winchester, a concerned parent, says, “Somebody, at the end of the day, has a duty of care not to make those decisions that are likely to put kids in danger. God forbid any child walks down that road and gets knocked down. ”