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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
Victim's mother attacks bus rules
Stuart Cunningham-Jones

The mother of a boy killed in a bus crash has criticised new rules unveiled by the Welsh Assembly Government aimed at making school transport safer.

Jo Cunningham-Jones said the proposals for a new code of conduct do not go far enough and were "a kick in the teeth".

Her son Stuart, 12, died when a bus from his school to his home in the Vale of Glamorgan crashed in 2002.

It has also been announced by the Crown Prosecution Service that there will be no prosecutions after that accident.

However, Stuart's family have a civil case outstanding against the Vale of Glamorgan Council, which is due to be heard later this year.

Stuart's Campaign was set up demanding a seat for every child with safety belts, better supervision of pupils on board and better buses.

Transport Minister Brian Gibbons' proposals also include providing free transport for more primary school children.

Good behaviour on school buses is essential and behaviour and safety are intrinsically linked
Transport Minister Brian Gibbons

"School buses are the safest means of getting to school," he said.

"Thousands of children travel on them every day and fortunately incidents are few.

"Problems are the exception but when they occur, the consequences can be severe, sometimes, sadly, fatal.

"Good behaviour on school buses is essential and behaviour and safety are intrinsically linked."

He also wants to see more primary school pupils being taken to school by bus rather than by car to help ease traffic congestion.

Following consultation, the draft measure will place a duty on every local authority in Wales to introduce a code of conduct for behaviour on buses.

Dr Gibbons said the proposals would give head teachers the power to "impose sanctions for incidents on buses," amid doubt that the law as it stands gives councils the ability to take "effective action" if a pupil misbehaved on school transport.

But Stuart's Campaign said it was "deeply disappointed" the assembly government was not making use of its new powers to create legislation.

Mrs Cunningham-Jones, who wanted seat belts and supervision on all school buses, has described the move as insignificant.

"It is like a kick in the teeth, it is like what happened to Stuart is irrelevant," she said.

"We would like to have each child to have had a seat belt, we need escorts on the buses, we need safer buses.

"What they are proposing is just not on, it is not on at all."

Stuart was on a double-decker carrying 75 pupils home from Cowbridge Comprehensive School when it crashed in the village of Ystradowen, where he lived.

A South Wales Police spokeswoman said: "The case has been fully reinvestigated.

"Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service the decision has been taken not to take any further action. The family has been informed of the decision."


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