New bus service for pupils of Thomas Clarkson Academy

Councillor Virginia Bucknor

Councillor Virginia Bucknor - Credit: Archant

A NEW school bus service being introduced for pupils of the Thomas Clarkson Academy after Easter, following a year-long campaign by two Wisbech councillors.

Councillor Michael Bucknor

Councillor Michael Bucknor - Credit: Archant

Councillors Virginia and Mike Bucknor spearheaded the drive to get the new service, after parents raised concerns at the couple’s street surgeries in the Waterlees ward.

“We are absolutely delighted that the bus service is starting up,” said Cllr Virginia Bucknor. “We invited the principal Clare Claxton to tour Waterlees with us and explained the various issues.

“The school has carefully designed the route. Some pupils have a long way to travel to school, and it is difficult when some parents are doing 12-hour shifts, and there are two major roads to cross.”

The councillors had been told that one parent removed their 15-year-old son from school because of a bullying problem as he walked to and from school, while another parent flagged up problems of travel.

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The new pilot bus service - which starts on Monday April 15 - will be operated by Norfolk Green, and the 79-seater bus will begin its journey at 7.43am from the Black Bear at Walsoken. It will call at Ollard Avenue, St Michael’s Road, and Bath Road, before arriving at the school at 8.05am.

Allison Baverstock, director of resources at the Thomas Clarkson Academy said: “There is a possibility we may add a second bus if there is additional demand. Parents will be sent information over the Easter break.”

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Cllr Virginia Bucknor said: “We hope the bus will help increase attendance, improve time keeping, and help keep the children safe.

“It is very challenging when there is no transport, and many parents work shifts. Some families do not have grandparents to help take children to school, and parents want to know their children are safe.

“I have told one of the parents who first raised the concerns, about the new bus service, and she was absolutely thrilled. Residents can track the work we do by going to the Waterlees Focus website, it is a way of being transparent.”

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