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Over 1,000 sign petition about school bus chaos in Bucks

A campaign group is trying to work with BCC to make sure it never happens again

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 5:52am 20th September 2019. (Updated at 6:56am 20th September 2019) 5-minute read.

Over 1,000 sign petition about school bus chaos in Bucks

Parents in Buckinghamshire have started a campaign to try and sort out the school bus chaos, which is still a problem in some villages. 

Many kids were left with no places on buses at the start of term and no bus passes.

Siobhan Adams and other families from Farnham Common have now plastered their cars with home to school transport stickers to draw attention to the issue. 

Siobhan sent an open letter to Councillor Martin Tett on behalf of all families that have been affected by the school bus transport arrangements. 

In the letter it references the number of issues that children and parents have experienced with transport, safeguarding and administration. 

They have also started a task force to try and work with Bucks County Council so this never happens again, Siobhan told us:

"I know from our village we've got 51 children this year, there will be 88 next year and the year after there will be 131.

"So, this council has to be prepared.

"I think speaking to all of the stake holders involved and the parents will really help prepare the council for what's coming in the future."

The group of parents have also started a petition, which has already had over 1,000 signatures.

"It''s been really difficult to see messages from parents where SEN children are not able to actually get to their school.

"What we're really hoping with the petition, all of these issues will be looked at in advance and before, with more joined up thinking coming from the council so it never ever happens again."

Siobhan, along with other members of the group, will be presenting the petition to Bucks County Council next Thursday (26th Sep).

She wrote an open letter to the leader, Martin Tett.

He responded saying:

Thank you for your email. You raise a number of issues to do with both the process for communicating with parents concerning Home to School Transport and the policy itself.

Firstly, may I again apologise to all parents who were affected by the council’s poor administration of this year’s Home to School transport process. I believe you should expect to receive timely, professional and accurate information with regard to your entitlement to transport. It is clear to me from an interim review that, in many cases, we fell far short of the standard parents have a right to reasonably expect.

Secondly, with regard to the policy itself. I cannot give any commitment at this stage to significant changes to this policy. I have asked Ms Anita Cranmer, the Cabinet Member for Education and Mark Shaw, the Cabinet Member for Transport to review what took place this year and consider what occurred, why this occurred and what must be done to ensure that this is not repeated in future years?

Update from Bucks County Council

  • All students should have received their new temporary bus pass by 16th September.
  • If for any reason a pupil hasn't received their pass they should provide the school with their name, address and date of birth. The school will contact the council’s transport team and if the student should have a pass, one will be sent to the school to distribute to the pupil.
  • All students should continue to use their new temporary bus passes through the first half of the Autumn term and until their permanent bus pass is issued. All permanent passes will be sent out between 4th November and end of December. 
  • There will be no route timetable attached to the permanent passes, so parents should check timetable information here.

New school transport contracts due to begin from November

BCC have plans to re-tender client transport contracts and as a result new school transport contracts are due to begin from 4th November.

The re-tendering exercise is being carried out to improve our client transport services for school transport, SEN transport and client transport for adults.

As part of the re-tendering exercise all transport contracts are due to be renewed which means that the company currently providing home to school transport on any particular route may change from the second half of this Autumn term.

Bus routes will also change from 4th November with different stops being served by different buses.

BCC will issue permanent bus passes through November and December which will align with the introduction of the new routes schedules. 

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