An East Renfrewshire mum is calling on the council to address school transport issues and overhaul their “shambolic” placing request process.

Ranit Edgar’s son Jamin, who is starting first year this week, attended Calderwood Lodge Primary in Newton Mearns which feeds into the secondary across the road, Mearns Castle.

The family, who live in Uplawmoor, chose to educate the 12-year-old and his younger brother at Scotland’s only Jewish primary school as they are being raised within the Jewish faith.

Due to bus pick-up changes, detours due to road issues and other variables such as pupil lateness, the journey time on local authority provided transport to Waterfoot Road has become increasingly “problematic” over the past year.

Seeking a more straightforward commute for their child via train from Neilston station, the family decided to submit a placing request for Eastwood High which was refused.

Barrhead News:

The mum-of-two told the Barrhead News: “The journey, which was 45 minutes each way for years has increased twice, resulting in the children travelling to school for one hour and ten minutes to one hour and thirty minutes each way, each day.

“We've pleaded with the council, who arranged the transport, to improve the journey without any success.

“The children are telling us that they're suffering. They're exhausted with it. It's a converted van. It's not even a proper bus with air conditioning etc in it.

“So, before applying for a high school place, we discussed it with our son and agreed to apply to our catchment area school which is Eastwood High.”

Three months after being refused a place at Eastwood for Jamin, a keen rugby player who trains after school with a local club, an appeal meeting was finally held late last month, which upheld the original decision.

Ranit believes the appeal was “for show only” as the panel "did not ask any relevant or appropriate questions”.

Following the hearing, the family received an email the next day confirming the refusal, which they said cited the need for the school to “hire a teacher” if their son was given a place at Eastwood.

Barrhead News:

Although they were unable to get the outcome changed in their case, they hope that by speaking out the council will consider making changes to the process, including holding final hearings in a more timely manner, so that families have enough time to deal with the decision and prepare their children for attending a particular school.

Ranit said: “I know they're busy, but why don't they change the timing completely?

“It almost feels like they’re doing it on purpose. They're delaying it for three months, so you forget about it, lose interest and start accepting your new situation.

“You’ve got two weeks till school, you don’t want to fight it."

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesperson told the Barrhead News: “Whilst the Education Department will always grant placing requests whenever it can, it is unfortunately not always possible to do so.

"It has always been the Council’s policy that Mearns Castle High is the associated catchment secondary school for Calderwood Lodge.

"Any placing request is considered against the criteria set out in the policy and there is no guarantee that a place will be granted. Our appeals process for placing requests is carried out as quickly as possible, although this can be impacted by the availability of a wide range of staff who are required to attend these important meetings.

"As we aim to improve the service provided to children using school transport, a new policy is being introduced from the start of term, with pick-up points being introduced to reduce the time our routes take.”