A MOTHER has chosen to delay her four-year-old son’s education for a year, after being faced with having to send him to school 10-miles away in a taxi – on his own.
Joanne Taylor, of Kirton, originally applied for a place at Kirton Primary School for her son Archie with a second choice of Sutterton Primary School and third St Thomas’ Primary in Boston.
However, when Lincolnshire County Council allocated school places she found he had been given a place at Swineshead Primary School, 10 miles in the opposite direction to Boston where she and her husband work.
And when she phoned the authority to enquire, she said she was told not to worry and that they would provide a taxi.
She said: “He’s only four, he can’t go in a taxi with someone I don’t know and he doesn’t know.
“I also think it’s taking away a choice of a parent how to keep your child safe.
“If the taxi had an accident and the driver was injured he would be sat there alone, I don’t know these people and I think it’s out of the question.”
She said she had also found out that a number of children living in Swineshead were being transported to Kirton Primary School.
Joanne and her husband have limited transport themselves and had applied for Kirton because it was on their way to work, where they could cycle with the four-year-old.
She was also hoping to be able to start working during school hours but the decision not to send her son to school has put a stop to this, especially as her mother, who would pick him up in Kirton occasionally, would not be able to go to Swineshead.
Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) says up to £900,000 was spent last year on taxis, buses and specialist transport for pupils who needed it.
It said of the 745 children who applied for places in the 17 primary schools in Boston borough 31 children (4.2 per cent) did not get any of their preferred schools.
However 657 (88.2 per cent) got their first preference, 40 children (5.4 per cent) got their second and 17 (2.3 per cent) got their third.
The authority said it transports school-age children because it has to as a statutory duty.
This is usually through school buses, but if this isn’t possible then taxis are used.
LCC’s director of children’s services Debbie Barnes said: “Lincolnshire is a very rural county and there are some areas where there are no bus routes or services possible – in these cases we have to use taxis. We don’t use taxis for the sake of it – when it is necessary.”
She added that all drivers are vetted and known and have enhanced CRB checks and all passengers must use minimum legal seat restraints and child seats.
If there is an accident the cause of the accident is investigated as with all accidents involving vehicles.