Mum’s bus pass victory after son’s managed move to new school

Amanda Gilgil and her son Haydar-Ali Picture: Liz Coates

Amanda Gilgil and her son Haydar-Ali Picture: Liz Coates - Credit: Archant

A frustrated mother-of-five is celebrating an 11th hour victory after a six month stand off with her son’s school over his bus pass.

Amanda Gilgil, 52, has been fighting for a re-think after 13-year-old Haydar-Ali’s managed move from Cliff Park Academy in Gorleston to the Denes in Lowestoft, both part of the Ormiston chain, in April

It came after the student-leader pupil with 100pc attendance was involved in a one-off incident that was not behaviour related, she said.

The low-income family from Cobholm faced paying £48 a month for transport to his new school.

Mrs Gilgil, herself a school taxi driver, tagged as “scandalous” a system where those who could not pay faced exclusion and a period on a waiting list for suitable - and more costly - provision.

MORE: ‘Shockingly high’ number of exclusions from Norfolk schools raised in ParliamentShe said: “I am lucky because I am in a position where I can do more shifts, but what about those people who can’t?

“This has been my biggest fight ever and I am fighting it for whoever else is out there and struggling with the decision.

“It is a scandalous misuse of public money.”

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She said Cliff Park had agreed to pay for the bus pass until September 21 and that she had kept her son at home this week while she decided what to do.

However, today at the 11th hour, the school had relented, she said, and agreed it would pay for the rest of the academic year because it didn’t want to see her bright, academic son off school.

It means victory after months of letter-writing, supported by Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis.

She said Haydar-Ali, who is a TS Warrior cadet, had aspirations to become an engineer and hoped to go to the technical college in Norwich in Year 10.

“They had got me over a barrel,” she added.

“He needs to have a good school record. That was my frustration.”

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “When we work with schools to move a child at risk of exclusion, we will provide transport to one of the four nearest Norfolk schools where the new school is more than three miles from their home.

“This move was not part of our managed move scheme, but was a private arrangement between two schools in the Ormiston Academy Trust. As this case did not involve us, we are unable to provide transport in this instance.”