Children to be banned from walking and cycling to North Downs Primary School
CHILDREN will be banned from cycling and walking to two primary school sites over fears it would be too dangerous.
Following a parent-governor meeting at North Downs Primary School last Thursday, headteacher Angela Ewing said its Betchworth and Leigh bases would be "driving only" from September.
Outraged father James Harvey and his five-year-old daughter treasure their daily cycle to the Betchworth site.
But the girl and her classmates will now be shifted to Leigh, for which the route is too treacherous.
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The Brockham resident said: "We wouldn't have chosen the Betchworth school if we knew this was going to happen – there'd be no way. It's just too dangerous cycling to Leigh, they would be at risk."
The money-saving move by the school will see classes across the three sites cut from seven to six while also axing a teacher post.
The Betchworth school will see pupil numbers cut from 44 to 30, while the Leigh site will increase from 43 to 60.
All children starting at the school in September will be moved around all three sites before they reach their eighth birthday.
Mr Harvey, 45, added he may be forced to put his daughter in a taxi for the school-run instead of their beloved country cycle.
Surrey County Council has said it would pay for this taxi service for Year One students travelling to Leigh.
However, Mr Harvey continued: "It would be a national scandal if a school situated within view of the 2012 Box Hill Olympic Cycling Race introduced a policy that forces pupils into cars."
Mr Harvey is now negotiating with governors for them to examine a compromise which would inject cycling and walking into the curriculum.
The news of the school's plan has outraged many other parents, including Paul Potter, of The Street, Betchworth, who must now make a school-run with his three grandchildren which will take nearly one hour.
"I don't agree that it's going to be any better for the children and putting a five-year-old in a taxi is not a good idea," said the 48-year-old.
He later added: "If Surrey County Council is offering the lifts for Year One pupils, surely they can keep funding the teachers?"
In an interview with the Advertiser last week, headteacher Angela Ewing said there was "no alternative".