Leicester

Pupil hit by bus on disputed school walking route

A girl has been hit by a school bus on a Leicestershire walk-to-school route - on the same day the county council was criticised for removing free transport.

The pupil from Humphrey Perkins School was injured on Sileby Road on Wednesday on a route that had been reassessed following an ombudsman's findings.

The council said it would be investigating the incident.

Headteacher Peter Nutkins said the girl was in a stable condition in hospital.

A spokesman for the council said: "We are aware that there has been an accident involving a school bus provided by one of our contracts this morning and we are saddened and concerned to hear about the incident.

"Our thoughts are with the pupil and her family and we wish her a speedy recovery."

'Flawed decision making'

A local government ombudsman's report said seven parents had complained when the council withdrew transport claiming they lived too close to their schools to qualify.

But the report found the council had not made enough checks on whether children could safely walk to schools in the county before scrapping the free buses.

The council said that as a result of the findings it had revised its home-to-school transport walking route assessment policy, and had reassessed two of its routes, including the Humphrey Perkins School route from Sileby.

It was ordered to apologise to the complainants and pay them £100 each for their time and trouble.

Ombudsman Dr Jane Martin said in her report: "I believe the Council's decisions were the result of a fundamentally flawed decision-making process, and this was maladministration."

A council spokesman said it took complaints to the ombudsman "very seriously" and that it had "already acted on many of the remedies she has set out and are working to comply with the rest of the recommended actions".

"The Ombudsman has confirmed that our revised policy and the reassessments undertaken fully comply with the guidance."

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