It appears there have recently been several behaviour-related incidents and concerns about overcrowding on some school buses picking up pupils going to Howden School.
So on Wednesday of this week, following a number of calls from, Newport, Gilberdyke and Eastrington parents of Howden School pupils regarding problems with the school bus, I got up early and made my way to Elloughton bus depot, where I met with East Riding Motor Services (ERMS) and East Riding of Yorkshire Council staff (ERYC) staff for a morning briefing, before boarding the school bus destined for Howden School via Faxfleet, Blacktoft, Yokefleet and Eastrington.
It was reassuring to see both the transport operators and ERYC working closely with the school to address the situation, with none of the partners being prepared to tolerate any behaviour on buses which endangers the safety or well being of other passengers and all students are expected to conduct themselves in a respectful and sensible manner whilst journeying to and from school. This is the case for the vast majority of students whose general behaviour is excellent and it is not fair that they should suffer as a result of the actions of a few.
It is vital, from a safety perspective, that buses are not overloaded and that the partners know exactly which vehicle everyone is travelling on. For this reason pupils must carry their bus pass and travel on the right bus. This has not been happening in the Newport, Gilberdyke and Eastrington areas, and, coupled with the bad behaviour issues, which have occurred on two of the buses, has led to a number of measures being adopted to tackle concerns, including the following:
*Regular checks by bus drivers to ensure that children are eligible to travel on particular buses and that they have the correct pass. If students do not have their pass they may be asked to pay for travel. Lost passes will need to be replaced and parents can do this by contacting the East Riding Passenger Services Department.
*Students who misbehave or fail to live up to the expectations required may face a ban from the bus imposed by the bus company or the Council. If this happens, it then becomes the responsibility of parents to ensure that alternative transport arrangements are put in place. It is the Council who has jurisdiction in terms of deciding who travels on buses or implementing bans, but the school do support the Local Authority in their efforts to prevent poorly behaved students from accessing school transport.
*In serious cases, where the actions of a student breach Health and Safety regulations or bring the school into disrepute, the school may implement additional sanctions, including the possibility of exclusion.
The school, ERMS and ERYC will continue to monitor the conduct of students on buses to ensure that all users of school transport can do so without having to suffer unpleasantness or risk. I trust that the school can rely on the support of parents to tackle this issue head on and the head would value any feedback on the approach intended to be used. The school, working in partnership with parents, the ERYC and ERMS, hopefully can ensure that the poor behaviour of a few does not adversely affect the majority of students who are extremely well behaved and simply want a trouble-free journey to and from school.
If you have any concerns please contact Mr David Boden, Passenger Services Manager on 01482 395521.