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Calls for an update on school transport ahead of proposed strike action by bus drivers

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.

trangford 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.

“The Alliance believes in the right of workers to strike, however there are consequences which need to be thought about,” Ms Armstrong 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, she questioned whether pupils will be treated as absent if they cannot attend.

Ms Armstrong added: “Will there be any consideration given relating to lost learning time if they are due to sit exams soon?

“There has been so far 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.”

The Department of Education and Education Authority have been contacted for comment.

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