Con­tro­versy over school bus drop-offs sees driver sacked

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

THE bus driver at the cen­tre of a row over an ill-fated school jour­ney has been sacked.

Karen Baseden re­ceived a let­ter from em­ployer Nu-Ven­ture dis­miss­ing her af­ter stu­dents were let off her bus in Wood­church dur­ing the school run from Home­wood School in Ten­ter­den, says her fi­ance, Si­mon Baker.

The con­tro­ver­sial jour­ney last month saw Ms Baseden turn the bus around and head back to the school af­ter re­ports of trou­ble among a small num­ber of stu­dents.

How­ever, the bus stopped and stu­dents dis­em­barked.

While Nu-Ven­ture in­sisted that pupils de­manded to be let off, some par­ents were dis­traught to find their chil­dren adrift in a dark Wood­church road and say the youngsters had to walk to a nearby pub to sum­mon lifts home.

De­camped

Nu-Ven­ture boss Nor­man Kemp said at the time: “The driver, rightly or wrongly, was fol­low­ing in­struc­tions given by the school that if there was any trou­ble then the bus was to be re­turned to the school.

“Some kids took ex­cep­tion to that, rang the bell and de­camped.

“All those who left the bus did so of their own ac­cord.”

How­ever, Ms Baseden’s dis­missal seems to cen­tre on her ac­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Baker, a bus driver with a dif­fer­ent com­pany, Ms Baseden was in a no-win sit­u­a­tion.

He said: “The let­ter (from Nu­Ven­ture) said that her ex­pla­na­tion was con­sid­ered to not be sat­is­fac­tory.

“But the kids were stand­ing around the driv­ing area and so she couldn’t see out. She had to stop the bus and she had to agree to let the kids off.”

Ms Baseden in­tends to ap­peal against the dis­missal.

Nu-Ven­ture de­clined to com­ment on dis­ci­plinary mat­ters.

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