I appreciate that many of you will be anxious to know transport arrangements to Backwell School, particularly with new Year 7s starting on Friday 4th September for their induction day.
This is what I know…
Parents and carers were due to receive emails on Friday (28th August) to set out the individual arrangements for their children, but on Friday the system experienced a major technical fault and the Council cannot currently rely on it to contact families. I was informed of this by the Council’s Chief Executive on Friday evening.
- The Council team are working with transport operators through the bank holiday weekend to contact families with children needing transport on Tuesday and Wednesday (i.e. not Backwell School students) before proceeding to families with children returning later in the week or the following week.
- A helpline has been set up to deal with any immediate queries, This mainly effects Churchill Academy (who start back on Wednesday 2nd September). The number is 01934 888802 and the line will be available on Sunday from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
- I’d ask all Backwell School parents to be patient, please.
- All schools have been advised of the situation and additionally Backwell School has provided information for students and parents about travelling to and from school.
- The Council reviewed the transport arrangements jointly with Backwell School, operators and other stakeholders to ensure the Home to School transport provided is in line with government guidance, wherever possible.
- This specifically addresses Year 11 students who attend Backwell School with a statutory travel award and normally travel by train from Yatton area. These students will instead now be provided with a (Blue Dolphin) bus, which will depart from Yatton station at 08:15. This is a temporary alternative and will be subject to review during the first term. The GWR service remains a long-term sustainable option.
- I have seen a list of coaches and departure times but obviously do not know the names of students on each service.
- Students will need to download the new NSC digital bus pass app called ‘Bus Pass Checker’. Details will be provided.
- Students without a smart phone will be issued with an email proving entitlement.
- Buses will also have manifests on the vehicle to check entitlement. It is important to stress that entitled students will not be left at the roadside!
- You might find the guidance published on the Council website useful for wider reassurance messaging about measures in place to ensure a safe return to school – scroll to the bottom of the page to view the pdf document.
I remember last year many school travel passes were posted to the wrong addresses. I can assure you that a review will be undertaken to ensure problems like this do not get repeated in the future.