Bury school is first to benefit from new transport model

Headteacher Lawrence Chapman
Headteacher Lawrence Chapman
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A Bury St Edmunds school will be the first in Suffolk to benefit from a new transport model for pupils with special educational needs.

Pupils at Priory School, in Mount Road, will be transported from home to school by a new dedicated fleet of 17 vehicles, operated by a sole-provider, following a review of the service by Suffolk County Council.

Currently, pupils are driven to the ‘outstanding’ Oftsed-rated special academy in vehicles operated by as many as 20 different taxi firms.

The authority has joined forces with facilities management company Vertas to provide a ‘more efficient and consolidated service’.

Lawrence Chapman, headteacher at Priory School, said: “We’re delighted to be chosen as the partners in this new service. My absolute top priority as headteacher is ensuring the safety and prompt arrival of my pupils to and from the school. I am confident this new service will help aide this.”

Jo Lardent, group commercial director for Vertas Group Ltd, added: “This new solution has been designed with the parents, young people and school in mind.”

The fleet of 17 vehicles includes 15 Peugeot mini-buses and there will be uniformed and formally trained drivers as well as passenger assistants.

The new service, part of a five year arrangement, will begin on Monday, May 22.