Parents of a five-year-old girl claimed she tried to walk home alone after being left outside a closed school by a taxi.
Little Phoebe Allen had to walk on narrow country roads as she headed home alone from Talley CP School, which had been closed for an inset day, before managing to find a Good Samaritan to take her the three miles to her mum.
Phoebe’s mother, Rachel, said she was not informed of the inset day, and is now withdrawing her children from the school near Llandeilo.
She told the South Wales Evening Post : “It was just like any other day. I walked her to the bus stop and she got on the minibus. The driver waved and I went inside.
“Later, there was a knock on the door and a woman said ‘I think I’ve got your daughter in my car’.”
Mrs Allen added: “The woman was loading her own children into the car when Phoebe found her and asked if the woman could drive her home. She picked the right person, and she didn’t try to walk the whole way, thank goodness.”
Dad, David, added: “It’s hard to believe the school didn’t inform the transport company.”
The transport is organised by Carmarthenshire Council, whose Head of Transport, Steve Pilliner said: “The council is sorry to hear of this matter and is in the process of fully investigating.”
A spokeswoman from taxi firm M and J Llangadog Cabs said the firm was not at fault, adding: “It is the parents’ job to inform us of inset days. Why was she at the bus stop that day?” In the Welsh SWWITCH home to school transport code of conduct it states that transport operators should “never drop the pupils at the school without formally handing them over to a responsible member of staff”.
When asked why this had not been done on Monday, January 16, the spokeswoman added: “Sometimes there’s people about, sometimes there’s not.”
“It was my daughter’s life at risk, she’s never going back there,” said Rachel.
Sheila Speake, school governor, said: “There were three school letters in November, December, and January about the inset day, also on the school and community web-
site, and on the school notice board.”
She added one of the letters contained details about a school trip to London, which was why there was an inset day, including details of the closure, which, she says, “suggests they had been informed about the inset day”.
At the time of publication, Talley CP School had not responded to questions.
Mmmm... A lot of buck-passing going on; the school says they informed the parents of the closure; the mother is taking the girl out of school; the dad says the school didn’t inform the transport company. As far as the school transport is concerned, we have responsible members whose number one policy is never to drop off any pupils without handing them over to a responsible adult at the school. “Sometimes there’s people about, sometimes there’s not” doesn’t hack it. – Ed.