Boy, five, left alone at school bus stop

AN ANGRY mother has called for urgent answers after her five-year-old son was left on his own after being dropped off by the school bus.

Dave Gooderham

AN ANGRY mother has called for urgent answers after her five-year-old son was left on his own after being dropped off by the school bus.

Henry Stafford was forced to cower in his front garden, in floods of tears, at his home in Bradfield St George, near Bury St Edmunds, after his bus arrived almost 30 minutes before the scheduled time.

His mother, Lucy, who arrived five minutes after the bus, has demanded answers and raised questions about the contingency plans of the school buses run by Suffolk County Council.

Mrs Stafford said: “The whole thing was such a shock. It was not as if I was even running late. I got there 15 minutes before the bus's scheduled time but Henry had already been dropped off.

“When you pick up children from school, staff would never dare let them go without a parent arriving first. It should be the same for school buses.

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“They shouldn't be allowed to leave a five-year-old - what would have happened if I had been in an accident or something?”

Henry, a pupil at Cockfield Primary School, was left alone on March 17 when the school bus he was travelling on dropped him off too early.

Mrs Stafford said: “Fortunately, Henry was very sensible. He crouched down in the front garden and didn't even go need the road. But if he hadn't of been, anything could have happened.

“I phoned the county council and asked what contingency plans they have in case anything happens but I was told it wasn't their responsibility, it was down to the parents.”

A spokesman for the county council said the route from Cockfield Primary School varied depending on how many children use the service on a particularly day.

He added: “This can lead to a small variation in the timetable, meaning that on some days the bus could be slightly later or earlier than stated on the timetable.

“Bearing this in mind, we would encourage parents to be at the collection point a few minutes earlier. We do sympathise with Mrs Stafford's concerns but if we were to wait, it would affect the service even more.”

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