Wrexham school transport to come under spotlight
Rory Sheehan, Local Democracy Reporter
School transport issues across Wrexham are to come under scrutiny.
At this month’s Wrexham Council Lifelong Learning scrutiny committee, members accepted a request from Ceiriog Valley Cllr Trevor Bates (Ind) to look at recent problems with recruitment and provision of school escorts, which has seen some pupils have to miss school.
Escorts are responsible for children, often with additional support needs, from when they leave their parents or carers – either at home or at a pre-arranged pick-up point – until they in the care of the school, and similarly on the return journey.
In Cllr Bates’ absence the topic was introduced by leader of the council, Esclusham Cllr Mark Pritchard (Ind), who with agreement from Cllr Bates, added an amendment to widen the scope of the scrutiny.
Cllr Pritchard said: “I think it’s important everyone understands how serious this is.
“I spoke to the Education Minister this morning about support staff, escorts and teaching assistants.
“There is also a bigger issue here with regards to transport for sixth form education across Wrexham. This is about all schools.”
Chairing the meeting, Queensway Cllr Carrie Harper (Plaid) suggested scheduling the topic for scrutiny at the earliest opportunity, which would be December.
Cllr Harper also flagged up another school transport issue with regards to sixth form learners at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, adding that it was having a “detrimental impact on those wishing to continue their studies through the medium of Welsh.”
It was suggested that officers from the council’s Environment and Education departments look at these issues together and bring a report back to the committee.
Ruabon Cllr Dana Davies (Lab) proposed a need to look at any gaps in public transport as well, “so we’re not missing anything”.
Cllr Pritchard said that it was a “valid point” but that they did not want to lose focus on council’s own statutory obligation for providing transport.
Cllr Davies added that there had also been issues for sixth form pupils getting to the Maelor school in Penley, which could be similar to those experienced by post-16 learners travelling to Ysgol Morgan Llwyd.
Cllr Harper noted that members were happy to accept Cllr Bates’ request to look at the school escort problems, updates on the wider public transport issue, and transport for Welsh medium sixth form pupils.
A report will be presented at a future scrutiny meeting.
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