Leanne Wood has asked to speak with a local authority Head of Education in an attempt to find a solution to school transport problems.
The Rhondda AM said many concerned parents without the use of a car or access to adequate public transport had been in touch with her office in distress about the prospect of getting their children to school in September.
Some parents say their children will be forced to walk a round trip of nearly four miles each day to get to school. Ms Wood has now written to Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council to see if there are alternative arrangements that can be made to ease the burden of those parents who live furthest from school but do not qualify for school transport under the policy of the Labour-controlled local authority.
In a letter to RCT Council Leanne said: “I have had many parents contacting my office regarding your Home To School Transport policy.
“Whilst realising that you are operating within your statutory duties, I’m sure you are aware of the obvious difficulties that the changes to the home to school transport in many areas will cause some families come September.
“Parents in the Llwyncelyn area, for instance, will now have to either drive their children across Porth, causing more traffic concerns around the new school, or if the family has no transport of their own, then they will have to walk their children to school.
“The distance involved may very well be under two miles, but it will still be a walk of 30 minutes, even longer if you have one child in a buggy and another small child in tow. Plant o Trehafod??
“Parents in Penygraig are in a very similar situation.”
In her letter Leanne adds: “In these summer days I’m sure that the walk won’t seem such a hardship, but in the mid-winter mornings and afternoons, there will be icy paths, sleet or rain to contend with; all making the journey a nightmare. It stands to reason that if the children get wet on their way to school then they will be in those wet cloths all day.
“I’m sure that you as an authority must have considered this. Were there any other plans that you thought could be put in place, other that the odd dropped kerb or crossing point?
“Have you, for instance tried negotiating with service bus companies to alter timetables to allow busses to run in tandem with school opening/closing times?
“I would welcome the opportunity to speak with the director of education as a matter of urgency to discuss the concerns of constituents, and to consider any possible solutions.”