Chesterfield dad's concern about 'unsafe' footpath after daughter is refused school bus pass

Gary Bagshaw, right, with his daughter Courtney and father Mick on the unsafe route. Pictures by Rachel Atkins.
Gary Bagshaw, right, with his daughter Courtney and father Mick on the unsafe route. Pictures by Rachel Atkins.

A dad has voiced concern about his daughter’s ‘unsafe’ walk to school – after council chiefs refused to give her a bus pass.

Derbyshire County Council decided not to grant 11-year-old Courtney Bagshaw a bus pass to get to Hasland Hall School as the distance between there and her Calow home is under three miles.

Courtney Bagshaw walking along the route.

Courtney Bagshaw walking along the route.

Courtney’s father Gary and grandfather Mick claim the council has instead said she should negotiate a ‘neglected’ footpath where gangs have roamed - but the authority states it would ‘never insist a child walks a certain route’.

Gary - who is unable to accompany Courtney to her school along the two-mile route as he has to take his other younger children to their school - said: “Almost every week we hear of children and young girls going missing, being groomed or otherwise. Yet this authority which has a duty of care and the safeguarding of children insists my daughter walks this unsafe route rather than give her a bus pass.”

Mick added: “This decision is in total disrespect for the people it serves and puts my granddaughter in a potentially unsafe position.”

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Mick Bagshaw with Courtney Bagshaw.

Mick Bagshaw with Courtney Bagshaw.

Derbyshire County Council statement

A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “When a child attends the catchment area school we would normally only provide a bus pass to a child over eight-years-old when the school is over the statutory walking distance of three miles – as set out in our Transport Policy.

“We turned down this application for a bus pass because the distance between the child’s home and the school is under three miles.

“We did write to the parent in September and advised him of our Transport Policy and its criteria and at this point in time the parent has not exhausted the transport appeal process.

Courtney Bagshaw.

Courtney Bagshaw.

“We’d like to stress that we would never insist a child walks a certain route. The responsibility lies with the parent to decide the best way for the child to get to school, and not with the council when the route to school is under the statutory walking distance.

“If the parent wishes to contact us we are more than happy to discuss the situation further with him.

“This could include a hazardous route assessment if he has any specific concerns about any route to school.”