To be concerned about school that let's a 4 yr old get the wrong bus home

(32 Posts)
plim Fri 03-May-13 20:08:21

Ds and dd go to a great primary school, outstanding ofsted (not that that means much these days) great head t and all together very happy with it. Yesterday one of my sons friends from reception class got off at our bus stop (rural village and bus stop on side of road next to a farm ie lots of tractors and farm traffic). Two other mums were also at pick up and we all assumed one of the others was taking him for a play date until we realised he wasn't with anyone! After s massive panic we took him to ours and I called his mum who was on vm and the school. He got on the wrong bus - not sure how he managed it as they put them in lines with bus captains, school said he told them he was coming for tea at our house so they let him go!!! His mum and dad were fuming and the school met with them this morning and the head has said it shouldn't have happened but the best he can do is to do a bus register and that the boy took it upon himself to change buses. They usually ask for letters for play dates but how on earth did this happen? 4 years old and dropped off on the side if the road. God knows what would have happened if we weren't there. So now very worried about my two on the bus (although they are hopefully not silly enough to pull one like this) I'm thinking of taking them off it...

musu Sat 04-May-13 21:18:36

Ds got a school bus from 4 (we are in the UK). He couldn't get on it unless I had let the school know myself he was going to be on it. He also wasn't allowed to be collected from school by another parent unless I had given written permission for them to do so. Seems pretty basic security to me. I would be gobsmacked and angry with the school if this had happened to ds.

Midlifecrisisarefun Sat 04-May-13 21:10:19

My DC went to a village primary, they went to school on a bus. They were dropped at the end of our lane, we were the last stop. On one occasion they were early and I wasn't there and my ds fell asleep on the bus. The driver carried him asleep up the lane! grin

MiaowTheCat Sat 04-May-13 20:02:30

We had escorts on the buses running to and from the school I worked at. Kids were handed over to adults at each bus stop by the escort (the usual system of not being allowed to get off until their grown up had been seen). Any issues regarding pick ups off the bus and the school was rung, child kept on the bus to the end of the route where one of the school staff would have driven out to collect them and bring them back to school while people at school did the ring around to get hold of parents (think this happened once while I worked there).

Meringue33 Sat 04-May-13 19:58:13

School buses are normal! We always took one as school was out of walking distance and it would not have occurred to my parents to use the car. The modern school run causes all sorts of congestion!

Having said that, good supervision is essential. Two kids at our school were run over by the school bus - on separate occasions - one fatally.

bubbles1231 Sat 04-May-13 17:32:39

We asked about escorts on our school buses years ago when there was trouble on one of them. The whole thing is a grey area about who is actually reponsible during that time. The school day has finished therefore not the school's responsibility. I think technically it is the local council, who has contracted it out to the bus company. Anyway the upshot was there was no mony avaiaiable for an extra person.
On the whole the drivers are good and let the school know if there are any issues. There are also P7 bus monitors who help with the little ones, ensuring seatbelts are on and they will report any issues.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 04-May-13 16:53:34

Booboo there have been big cutbacks when it comes to escorts on school transport.

A driver wouldn't leave a child somewhere alone.
They would return them to the school I would think,after waiting for a short while /ringing the parent.They should have a contact number.

I do think they try their best and from my experience really try to look after the children they have responsibility for.

There just need to be guidelines set out,and they need to be followed.
Including making sure that if there is any deviation from the normal pick up and drop off,it needs to be notified in writing.

Tricycletops Sat 04-May-13 08:44:30

My first primary school had buses, in a big city. We were marshalled in the hall at the end of the day under big signs with the route number on or (in my case) NO BUS. I do remember one of the boys in my class deciding he fancied a trip on a bus more than waiting for his mum, and being escorted back to NO BUS pretty quickly, so there must have been checks - and that was in the mid 80s!

Booboostoo Sat 04-May-13 08:34:14

Shouldn't there be an escort on the bus to deal with any issues such young children may have during the journey and to ensure the right adult was available to pick up the child at the bus stop? Presumably all sorts of things can go wrong like a parent who is late to pick up, so does the driver just deposit the 4 year olds at the bus stop and drive away?

MiaowTheCat Sat 04-May-13 07:50:39

Used to (this is a few years ago so hopefully they've tightened up the who is going on what bus saga now) teach a reception/Y1 class where about 90% of the kids were bussed in like this.

In our situation we had two different buses going to different villages - the reason lots of the kids were bussed in was because it was a very rural Catholic school serving three different parishes. Unless very rare circumstances like parents wanting to have words before school, or dropping ridiculously large and fragile show and tells off (you know - that Monday morning feeling where Johnny is suddenly utterly adamant he wants to bring his version of the Blue Peter Tracy Island complete with various bits hanging off at precarious angles type scenario) etc - pretty much all the kids got the buses - put ON the bus at the stops by parents and met off the bus at school by staff. Heck, on a couple of occasions I got the bus in myself since I lived in the catchment villages and the car had refused to start! ('Twas flipping handy!)

Anyway the going home thing was a bit of a mild pain in the arse - since you had kids with cousins on the other bus who were going to theirs for tea, days when kids were meant to be getting the bus or not - and parents weren't very great at keeping us up to date on what was going to be happening (this is the bit I really hope they've tightened up on since I left - was pushign a decade ago I worked there) - but apart from that, the kids absolutely LOVED getting the bus - we were really lucky with drivers who could relate to the kids (one was always particularly fab with our resident transportation fanatic) and escorts who were similarly obliging... to the extent that my transport obsessed Y1 lad wrote an entire recount of his school summer trip about who the driver of the bus was, that his name was Steve and he drove him to school every morning and how fab Steve was... and a lengthy section about what make and model the bus was and how old it was... oh and we went to the museum and this is the bit of crap I bought in the gift shop! The head would regularly drive behind one of the buses on the way home on a night to identify any heads bouncing around on the back seat and misbehaving and would liase with the escorts that if there was any bother emerging she'd get ahead of the bus and get on at the next stop - which kept certain "personalities" in line!

Tee2072 Sat 04-May-13 07:15:33

I don't live in a rural area but there is a bus for my son to take when he starts in September.

But the going home bus has a teaching assistant on it for the younger kids so just such a thing can't happen as the kids are given directly to their adult, they don't just stream off the bus willy nilly.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 04-May-13 06:55:03

Buses in rural areas, totally normal. Otherwise how would any kids in the outlying villages get to school?

Changing the bus a child gets without written confirmation from a parent or without a phonecall to check is exceptionally bad practice and will presumably result in a tightening of procedures.

marcopront Sat 04-May-13 06:47:38

Has anyone asked the four your old why he said he was going to your house for tea? Yes the school should have checked but why would he say that?

Cerisier Sat 04-May-13 03:44:01

Taking the word of a four year old? Noooooo, I can't believe the school did this. Thank goodness it ended well.

Our school has loads of rules about buses for the under 11s- no one can go on a different bus to normal full stop. So if you are going to play at someone else's house straight from school a parent has to go and pick up from the school. Also a form has to be filled in by a parent giving permission for another parent to pick up a child. It seems completely over the top, but it does mean situations like this don't happen.

mam29 Sat 04-May-13 03:06:40

maybe im just old. but my 1st school was village primary and we lived rural had mini bus which dropped me and neighbour oustide our house and parents waved bus off. oddly cant remember getting on school bus at school end. only went there for infants as moved to a town.

1st day reception mam made dad follow the school bus.

i would be angry too.

In states school buses common.

i do hate the school run.often say wish there was a bus.

Startail Sat 04-May-13 01:26:39

School need notes or phone calls from parents about play dates not the word of KS1 DCs, just as Brownies do if someone different is collecting.

We only have one bus so mix ups between buses don't happen. The odd mixup about going not going on the bus probably does. As does this dippy mother forgetting after school clubs and turning up early.

Purplebananas Sat 04-May-13 00:56:52

A 4 year old on a bus alone? WTAF. One of the parents should get the bus with him.

EnidRollins Sat 04-May-13 00:26:08

Enid If you live in a rural area and the school is several miles away, how are the children of parents without cars supposed to get to school?

Ok, can appreciate that as I grew up in a rural area and children in the next village had to be bussed in.
Easy to forget being in a big town/city now though!
Even so, though, they put a 4 year old on a bus on the say so of the 4 year old just because he said he was off for tea at someone else's house?!
They never even thought to QUERY that and check it was right?!
I'd be fuming.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 04-May-13 00:14:14

If you are in a rural area it is quite normal for children to go by bus,and yes,as young as four.It's all very well saying you wouldn't let your children do that,but as bubbles says if you don't drive or don't have a car there isn't really much option.

I would be very annoyed about this and would want a meeting with the headteacher.They should be putting forward solutions to this to make sure it doesn't happen again.There should be no room left for error with a 4 year old and they should be escorted onto the bus.
Any change in plan should be notified in writing.

casawasa Sat 04-May-13 00:09:43

I think the OP means a School Bus. Not just a public service bus. Many, many kids around the country in rural areas get to school by school bus. This includes my son who from age 5 has been picked up and dropped off by the school bus. Would it be better if 14 sets of parents drove the 10 miles to his school every morning and back twice a day with their PFBs in their cars?

Clearly in this case the school made a mistake.

bubbles1231 Sat 04-May-13 00:05:55

Enid If you live in a rural area and the school is several miles away, how are the children of parents without cars supposed to get to school?

EnidRollins Fri 03-May-13 23:59:46

School kids being put on a bus aged 4 years old and expected to get off where and whenever, as well as being put on the bus just because they'd said they were off somewhere for tea?
Did they not even think to CHECK that?!
Leaving aside the whole it's absolutely wrong at that age to even be put on a bus at that age in my opinion.
My youngest's 5, and there's no way on this earth he'd be going on a bus by himself.
At that age at our school, they have to be collected from the classroom door. Which is the way it should be.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 03-May-13 23:23:58

I wouldn't let my dc go on a school bus. The school I work at has one and the staff that manage it each day are meticulous, but there will always be room for something to go wrong somewhere, especially with children so young. I think it's a service best used by the older children tbh.

cumfy Fri 03-May-13 23:08:57

What does DS say ?

plim Fri 03-May-13 20:20:35

It's the uk. All the rural schools here (out in stix) have a school bus service. Most are only 2-3 mile routes and they're mini buses that pull up in the car park and the children are chaperoned on in a queue.

decaffwithcream Fri 03-May-13 20:20:28

I don't think they could "let" a 4 year old get the wrong bus, I would say they put him on it.

I assume after this incident they will not be taking a young child's word for it that he is going on a different bus.

I also assume the driver would not have actually dropped a 4 year old off if no adults were there.

And that a group of adults or even one adult would not manage to leave the bus stop without noticing that a small child is there on his own.

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