TEACHING staff from two Redditch schools stood united yesterday (Thursday) in the face of the Diamond Bus fiasco sweeping the town.
Bus services due to transport children to and from St Augustine’s Catholic High School and Tudor Grange Academy have been failing to turn up since September – when the 143 service was withdrawn without notification to St Augustine’s.
Just this week (Wednesday) a bus due to take Tudor Grange students home burst into flames outside the Woodrow Drive site.
Both sites have extensive lists of dates when the school services were late or simply did not turn up at all.
Pupils have also been late for school due to Diamond, one turning at 10.45am instead of getting the children to school for 9am.
Last week, on both Thursday (November 12) and Friday (November 13), St Augustine’s services failed to collect children until after 4pm and school minibuses and staff cars had to be used to safely transport students home.
And staff have had enough – Tony Quinn, principal at St Augustine’s, joined Nicola Crehan, deputy head at Tudor Grange, in a meeting with with bus services bosses – including David Squire, additional director – at St Augustine’s to determine how Diamond plan to rectify the situation.
Mr Quinn said: “It’s a total disregard for the safeguarding of the children. Buses have been overcrowded – leading to potential health and safety issues – and have posed an extreme risk by turning up late or not at all.
“Communication is abysmal, phone calls are not answered, emails are ignored and our frequent pleas are disregarded.
“Our staff, parents and students have lost all faith in the Diamond Bus Company due to its erratic level of service and reliability.
“We desperately need change now and Diamond have to prove they are willing and able to implement those changes.”
Rose Rees, Tudor Grange principal, added: “The safety and wellbeing of our students is at the forefront of our concern and it is a minimum expectation that all students, particularly during these dark, winter months, receive a service that is trustworthy and safe.”
Staff are due to meet with Diamond bosses again next month.
Mr Squire was unavailable for comment.