A HEADMASTER says he would be “very surprised” if a council ploughed ahead with plans to amalgamate bus transport for three Wycombe schools.
Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Cllr Mike Appleyard met with the headteachers of Wycombe High, John Hampden Grammar School and the Royal Grammar School.
They held talks over the county’s plan to save money by axing the schools’ individual bus transport routes and replacing them with 18 double-decker buses that would serve all three schools.
The headteachers called the plans “farcical and dangerous” and slammed BCC for failing to consult the schools or parents – forcing Cllr Appleyard to defer the contentious proposals until the New Year.
John Hampden headmaster Stephen Noakes revealed he would be “very surprised” if the council forged ahead with the original proposals.
He said: “We’ve had two meetings, one with the council and the other with the contractor, and they listened and took away our concerns.
“We will meet again next term and comment on the programme they are working on and, while the world of politics changes very quickly, I would be very surprised [if the proposals remain the same].”
Cllr Appleyard said phase one of the plan would still be introduced in September but the bus routes for the three Wycombe schools, as well as St Michael’s, would remain the same until at least January.
He said: “We are still in discussion and are working through a plan to make progress with changes that I need to make in order for my budget to balance so that I am able to maintain the school bus service.
"While these discussions take place I have decided to continue to deliver school transport services to the four schools on essentially the same basis as is currently the case, in two phases.
"Phase one will be introduced for the start of the Autumn Term.
"The routes will largely remain the same and we will aim to meet a similar level of demand for discretionary travel, as well as meeting the requirement for those eligible for free transport.
“Although it is possible the operators and specific vehicles may change, you can expect the services to be similar to those currently in place.
"Phase two is projected to begin in January 2015. I will be holding public meetings at the schools and answering parents’ questions then.”
County Hall wants to save £5m over four years from school transport.