Education Minister and Education Authority need to update parents on transport plans ahead of strike, says Armstrong 

Education Kellie Armstrong

The Education Minister and Education Authority (EA) need to urgently update parents on how pupils will be transported to schools ahead of a strike beginning later this month, Alliance’s Kellie Armstrong has said.

Strangford Assembly candidate Ms Armstrong was speaking ahead of a strike by bus drivers, scheduled to begin on April 25. She said the issue had been raised by concerned parents during the election campaign.

“Alliance believes in the right of workers to strike, however there are consequences which need to be thought about,” she said.

“The Education Minister and EA have been aware of the upcoming strike for some time, yet have not provided parents with solutions should Translink be unable to provide home to school transport for those in receipt of it.

“This issue has been raised a number of times by concerned parents on the doors during this election campaign. They need to know arrangements as soon as possible, as otherwise they will have to source childcare or take holidays from their own place of work.

“If a number of buses do not operate later this month due to the strike, questions remain - will pupils be treated as absent if they can’t attend? Will there be any consideration given relating to lost learning time if they are due to sit exams soon?

“There has so far been silence from Minister Michelle McIlveen and the EA, which is incredibly disappointing for parents across Northern Ireland. With a potential strike by classroom assistants possibly happening after Easter as well, it is vital things are not left until the last minute. We need more communication and for the Minister and EA to show they care about the safety of our children and young people, and having their access to education disrupted as little as possible.”