Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Karen Mullan is to meet the Education Authority to secure an effective solution to Special Educational Needs Transport,
Speaking in advance of the meeting Karen Mullan MLA commented:
“I alongside my party colleague Caoimhe Archibald MLA will be meeting with the Department of Education Authority.
“We will be calling for an immediate and effective long-term solution to address the unacceptable travel times experienced by children attending Harberton and other special schools in the Belfast area.
“There have been reports of children with special educational needs and other health issues having to sit for hours on a bus and that some of those who are entitled to be picked up from their own homes are having to make their way to meeting points.
“This is completely unacceptable. We have been pressing to meet the Authority for more than a week to discuss these very serious issues.
“The Education Authority have previously stated that they have put in place arrangements to ensure that these children could travel safely to and from school in a timely fashion. These arrangements have continued to fail.
“We will be demanding that the Authority takes immediate steps to ensure that suitable and sustainable transport arrangements are put in place for these children.
“The horrific travel times experienced by children with special educational needs were a result of a cynical cost-cutting exercise employed by the Education Authority which has caused undue stress and hardship to vulnerable children and their parents.
“The EA need to provide assurances that the health and safety of these children was not put at risk through the excessive times that they have spent on buses.
“It is their duty to ensure that children arrive safely at school.