Banburyshire parents battle to keep school bus chaperone

Parents of pupils at The Dassett School, Fenny Compton are desperately trying to find ways to maintain child supervision on the school bus.

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) is axeing the bus’ chaperone, Anne Neil, from tomorrow (Friday).

The Northend school bus is losing it's chaparone. Mum, Elaine Stuchfield, children and parents at drop-off time. NNL-190904-211018009

The Northend school bus is losing it's chaparone. Mum, Elaine Stuchfield, children and parents at drop-off time. NNL-190904-211018009

Mums and dads in Northend say their children, some as young as four, may not be safe without an adult present.

“We’re trying to find other ways, including running our own rota, paying Anne ourselves or us contracting the bus company to employ Anne but all of these have their own issues with safeguarding and insurance rules,” said Elaine Stuchfield, who has two children at the school.

“Anne looks after the children and ensures they have their seat belts on. When there was a crash last year the chaperone made sure all the children were OK and collected safely. The driver can’t do that supervision and drive.

“If we can’t find a way to keep Anne then parents are just going to drive their children, as the road from Northend to Fenny has been declared unsafe for walking to school,” said Mrs Stuchfield.

She said school-time traffic was already causing real annoyance for residents of Fenny Compton whose village centre streets are narrow with very little space for parking.

A spokesman for WCC said: “There is no statutory duty to provide passenger assistants on home to school transport and the county council has continued to provide these for as long as possible. However, we are no longer in the position where we can continue on such a wide-scale basis.

“Assistants will continue to be provided where a pupil has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCA).”