NLC tops chart for taxi fares

Our Lady's High pupil Caitlyn Slevin. Pic: John Devlin
Our Lady's High pupil Caitlyn Slevin. Pic: John Devlin

A Cumbernauld teenager believes if her school didn’t pay for taxis she’d have to give up on her dream job.

This comes after it was revealed North Lanarkshire Council spends the most of all Scotland’s local authorities transporting pupils to study extra subjects at other schools.

An FOI request found that nearly a £1 million was spent by local authorities on taxi fares in the last school year, with the bill in North Lanarkshire coming in at £290,499 – more than double Renfrewshire in second place.

The council says it actively encourages pupils to take subjects at other schools, allowing them to expand their skill set and study for vocational courses while still learning the core subjects at their base school.

Caitlyn Slevin (16), an S5 pupil at Our Lady’s High, travels three times a week to St Maurice’s High to study for a National 5 qualification in make-up artistry.

She also attends a class in beauty at New College Lanarkshire’s Cumbernauld campus and drama at Greenfaulds High, while also studying for National 5 in English, maths, and travel and tourism studies at her own school.

She said: “It really benefits me to be able to do this as my school doesn’t offer all of the courses I want to do. I like going to other schools. I know a lot of people in my classes there. It’s really easy, I just go in and study and get it done.

“If my school didn’t pay for me to get taxis to the other schools, I wouldn’t be able to do it. My dad doesn’t drive and if I had to go on public transport, it would take me too long and I would miss things.

“I have wanted to be a make-up artist since I was in second year. I’m leaving school in the summer and going to college, but the fact I have already taken a qualification in make-up artistry means I can go straight into stage two and then get a job more quickly.”

Our Lady’s High head teacher Danny McNulty said about 100 pupils at the school travelled to other educational establishments to take both vocational and academic courses.