We are in daily discussion with Go North East and are closely monitoring the transport provision. We are grateful for the feedback received from parents and are working hard to alleviate concerns that have been registered with school and the bus company.
We are strongly encouraging pupils to wear face coverings whilst on buses and I do think, with parents' support, that we are getting that safety message across. Certainly, when buses left school today, the vast majority of pupils were wearing face coverings.
The zoning of pupils is a strategy that is in place and adopted wherever possible. Our safety focus is to ensure that all pupils are seated, and this along with wearing face coverings, takes priority over zoning by year group.
We deploy senior staff on bus duty both morning and evening and manage the seating arrangements before the buses leave site, whilst also conveying the strong safety message about wearing face coverings. Go North East also deploy a manager to monitor and observe afternoon service. We have responded quickly to the capacity issues on certain buses and I can provide you with the following message from Go North East:
"We are monitoring the situation closely and will have extra vehicles on hand to assist with capacity to ensure all students are able to travel. We will review or amend services if required shortly, when more data is available on travel patterns".
We are very grateful for your patience and understanding and can assure you that we are working really hard in collaboration with Go North East, encouraged that the company has reacted quickly by deploying extra vehicles from today; with a permanent additional vehicle from Monday.
We will of course continue to monitor and make changes where necessary.
The additional vehicle will operate from Monday 14th September 2020 and will cover Annfield Plain, Catchgate, Templetown and Delves Lane. This will offer the extra capacity required on the busiest services 823/824/827.