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Ballymena special school pupils left without transport

The Education Authority has been asked to provide urgent answers after more Co Antrim pupils have been left without a bus service to transport them to and from school.

t’s the second time in a week pupils attending a school in the area have been left without transport.

It’s understood parents of pupils attending Castle Tower Special School in Ballymena were informed of disruption the evening before the bus service was withdrawn this week, leaving them unable to plan for the days ahead.

Parents have been told information will be forthcoming on a ‘day by day’ basis.

Alliance North Antrim MLA Patricia O’Lynn has sought a meeting with the Education Authority (EA), following more primary school pupils being left without transport.

It follows a similar incident at Mary Queen of Peace Primary School in Glenravel last week, which saw pupils left without transport. Dr O’Lynn said it was a “shocking lack of provision” from the EA.

The Education Authority (EA) had apologised after more than 100 pupils at the County Antrim primary were left without school transport for two days.

“Once more we are seeing the impacts of EA’s lack of foresight and shocking lack of provision,” she said.

“And once again it is children and parents who are missing out – children on their education and social lives, and parents on work, study, and other responsibilities.

“It is unacceptable in isolation but coming so soon after the incident at Mary Queen of Peace Primary School, it is unacceptable. The EA stated last week it had a range of contingency plans for such occurrences but this is clear evidence that is not the case. I have now sought a meeting with the organisation to seek clarity on why this keeps happening.

“I have already pointed to the increased pressures this causes for parents in the midst of a cost of living crisis. Education Minister Michelle McIlveen needs to get back to work and step in to provide clear evidence of a consistent and reliable contingency plan for these and other schools who rely on EA for transport provision, and allow these pupils back to school.”

The Education Authority has been contacted for comment.

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