Keynsham school bus service saved – for now

South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach Company has lifted its threat to cancel the 432 service to Wellsway School and the IKB Academy in Keynsham because of anti-social behaviour on the bus by a small minority of students.

The announcement today follows a meeting yesterday between representatives from the management of the bus company, three parents whose children use the service, and the principals of the two schools.

The 432 serves dozens of pupils from Longwell Green, North Common, Oldland Common, Willsbridge and Bitton.

Matthew Woodville, principal of Wellsway, and Debbie Gibbs, principal of IKB, say in letters home to parents tonight: “All parties worked together in partnership to save the service from the planned termination – a testament to all parties. I would particularly like to thank both the bus company for giving our students this opportunity and all the very proactive and supportive parents involved in bringing about this resolution.”

Both schools have agreed to devise a joint code of conduct which will need to be signed by parents and students who wish to use the 432 bus service, even if for occasional use.

On receipt, the schools will issue a permit which identifies the student with a parental contact number. They will show this permit when boarding the bus and should there be any anti-social behaviour, the permit will be revoked, so that the schools can take appropriate action.

If students witness anti-social behaviour on the bus, or feel intimated by the behaviour of other students, they are urged to raise their concerns.

The 432 bus will have a regular driver who wants to have a “fresh start” after recent events, and students are encouraged to say hello on boarding, and a ‘thank you’ as they alight to help build a positive relationship.

The letter says: “The threat of termination remains very real. I cannot stress enough that if further criminal damage occurs then the continuation of the service may be lost, for good.

“Whilst this historic damage is most likely the act of an individual student and your child may not be involved, I urge you to make your children aware that egging on others, laughing along with anti-social behaviour or provoking others to act can encourage and even incite such unacceptable behaviour.

“If there is a collective response from students against anti-social behaviour, confirming that these acts are not funny or acceptable, then those committing them will be less likely to act in this way.”