Young schoolchildren left 'stranded' in Milton Keynes when no school buses arrived, claims councillor

Mk Council will investigate the problem

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 2:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 12:58 pm

Schoolchildren were allegedly left stranded when no buses arrived to pick them up on the first day of term, it has been revealed.

Olney Cllr Peter Geary has challenged Loughton and Shenley Cllr Zoe Nolan on the issue during a council meeting.

He asked the cabinet member responsible for home to school transport why a “significant amount of pupils” from Olney Middle School were not provided with transport – and why the school and parents were not informed.

No school bus arrived, says the councillor

Cllr Nolan said she was “not aware” of the matter, but that she would investigate.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), Cllr Geary said he was told it was due to an administration error.

He said: “Olney Middle School went back to school at the start of this term, on September 3. The contract for Home to School Transport, something that this council is legally [obliged] to provide, didn’t start until September 6.

“Could you tell me why a significant amount of pupils weren’t provided with transport, please?”

“I’m not aware of difficulties that you’re talking about with Home to School Transport,” replied Cllr Nolan. “And I will investigate.”

Cllr Geary responded: “I’d be grateful if you please would investigate because there were…a number of pupils who were left at bus stops, waiting for a bus that didn’t arrive.

“That, in itself, is difficult to understand – but surely the officers of this council understand when schools start back?

“And if they know a bus isn’t going to turn up, at the very least, you would have thought they would have informed the school and the parents concerned so alternative arrangements could have been made – which they weren’t.”

Cllr Nolan said: “Home to School Transport is provided on the school term dates, but I will investigate what you’re alleging.”

Olney Middle School has been approached for comment.

Cllr Nolan told the Citizen after the meeting: “I am very sorry this happened. It’s not the way we want any child to start the new term. The shared transport that we commission for Olney Middle School was scheduled to restart on Monday 6 September and did not reflect the calendar of this individual school. Whilst this was an unusual error, it was not acceptable and we apologise to the families who were impacted by this. We are working to ensure future transport arrangements align with school return dates and times and will be running additional checks with every school.”