A TERMINALLY ill child is being forced to leave school almost an hour before her classmates because the council can't find suitable transport to get her home at 3pm.

And because Alva's Emma Thomson doesn't start class until 12pm, that means she is missing out on a third of her educational experience each day.

The 11-year-old is currently completing P7 at Stirling's Castleview Primary, after Clacks Council successfully lobbied to get her a place there back in July.

Unfortunately, a lack of transport is seriously restricting her ability to make the most of her time at the institution so far this term.

Emma was born with a number of medical conditions including an undiagnosed growth disorder, and contracted septicaemia twice when she was a new-born.

In 2017, her health deteriorated further when she developed an illness that "annihilated" her body.

She is now wheelchair bound and in severe pain. Due to her care needs, she needs a bus to herself when going to and from school.

She also doesn't start classes until the afternoon, because of the amount of time it takes to get her ready to leave home each day.

While her mum Lorraine, 47, accepts the late start is inevitable, she has hit out at the fact her daughter is being taken home early because of a lack of transport.

She said: "She could go home with everyone else, but because Emma's pain levels are so bad she can't really travel with other kids.

"She's on liquid morphine, and travelling for some reason really inflames the whole situation, and sometimes the medication doesn't actually stop the pain and she's very distressed.

"That's distressing for adults to watch, but [putting her on] a bus full of children is just not a solution."

Lorraine raised the issue with her MSP and asked whether using another bus company was an option.

After hitting several dead ends, Clacks Council eventually informed her that they had asked one transport provider to recruit another staff member who could take Emma home at 3pm.

However, when Lorraine called the company to check if this was the case, they said they were not aware of the situation.

In the meantime, Emma is still being taken home early and missing out on a range of experiences at school.

Lorraine said: "It's not just education, it's about missing out on quality of life.

"The headmistress is very keen to have Emma stay until three, because they have a Makaton club in the afternoon which she would enjoy.

"The council keep saying to me that if I could get her in early she would have more time in school.

"I'm trying to say I would love to wave her off at half eight, but that's never going to happen.

"I just feel I'm going round and round; I really just want to see that she's happy."

A spokesperson for Clackmannanshire Council said: "We continue to try to find a solution, but the availability of such specialist transport is limited."