‘Dangerous’ routes to school walked by Glenrothes children and parents who fear losing buses

Parents and pupils who walked from Pitcoudie to Glenwood High School to illustrate the possible walking route
Parents and pupils who walked from Pitcoudie to Glenwood High School to illustrate the possible walking route

Children and parents had a lucky escape as they tried out a proposed walking route for pupils who face losing their bus to school in Glenrothes.

A car sped through a red light at a pedestrian crossing on Leslie Road, narrowly missing several adults and children who were making the proposed journey on foot home from Glenwood and Glenrothes high schools.

The action followed a similar walk alongside the busy A92 by parents of Auchmuty High School pupils last week.

Currently children who live within two miles of their secondary school or a mile of their primary school are entitled to school transport where there is no suitable walking route.

A proposed new policy and a reassessment could see some routes reclassified, potentially ruling out travel entitlement for up to 800 youngsters across Fife, including 565 in Glenrothes.

VIDEO: This is the ‘notorious’ A92 route children could be forced to walk if school buses are withdrawn

Parent Liz Chambers said: “Children would be walking close to busy roads and there are some wooded areas where there is no light.

“They would be going through parks, especially the Pitcoudie children who would be walking through Riverside Park.

“Our main concern is that children would be walking isolated routes and we don’t think that’s safe.

“Children are really, really worried about this.

“My daughter could be walking a route herself that as a grown adult I wouldn’t want to walk.”

The policy, currently under consultation, is to go before councillors for consideration in January.

Council officers have recommended that school transport will not be required for pupils to Glenrothes High School from Forester’s Lodge, Cadham, Pitcoudie, South Balfarg and to Glenwood for pupils from Balgeddie, East Whinneyknowe, Liberton Drive and South Collydean.

Around 250 pupils currently using school buses from these areas would be affected.

Shelagh McLean, head of education and children’s services, said: “The consultation is concerned with the content of a proposed walked routes to school assessment policy, looking for views in relation to the principles, the assessment criteria, the frequency of assessments and the appeal process included within the proposed policy.

“For transparency, to inform the consultation process, we also published details of the possible outcome of assessments for existing routes to demonstrate where the application of the policy, in its draft format, would mean a potential change to the transport arrangements.

“It is important to stress that no decisions have been made and we are continuing to encourage feedback on the policy.”

The consultation runs until Friday.

Glenrothes SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth, who has met worried parents, was approached for comment but was unable to respond on Tuesday.

Her office said she was keen to discuss the topic at a later date.