Three school vehicles ordered off road

THREE school vehicles were ordered off the road after on-the-spot checks at an Ipswich school, it can be revealed today.Routine checks at Thomas Wolsey School, in Old Norwich Road, found three of the 24 vehicles checked were unroadworthy - with one having an illegal tyre tread, one a loose bumper mounting and another a corroded silencer.

THREE school vehicles were ordered off the road after on-the-spot checks at an Ipswich school, it can be revealed today.

Routine checks at Thomas Wolsey School, in Old Norwich Road, found three of the 24 vehicles checked were unroadworthy - with one having an illegal tyre tread, one a loose bumper mounting and another a corroded silencer.

A fourth vehicle was given a delayed probation notice for having worn brake pads.

The routine tests were carried out by Suffolk County Council, police and representatives from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “These checks are undertaken without any notice being given in order to get a true picture and are carried out in the morning so that any problems found can be addressed during the day to avoid disruption to pupils' transport.

“Although three immediate prohibition notices were served during the check at Thomas Wolsey School on April 19, this is an unusually high figure.

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“The multi-agency inspections take place about six times a year in locations across the county and Suffolk County Council stores data collected at each check.

“This data can influence the award of future contracts and it is therefore in the interest of contractors to keep their vehicles in good condition.”

The notices were all served on vehicles of mini-bus size or below with 24 vehicles inspected in the session.

Advisory notices were also issued on 17 vehicles, with only seven having no defects at all.

The council spokesman added: “Any immediate or delayed prohibition notice triggers a probation period of either hours or days during which the vehicle operator must correct the problem, followed by a second VOSA check.

“The second VOSA inspection is equivalent to an MOT and has to be passed before the vehicle can be used to carry children again.

“No follow up checks are carried out where inspection notices are issued as they are designed simply to advise drivers of issues such as worn rubber on a clutch pedal or faulty number plate light.”

County council roads and portfolio holder, Guy McGregor, said: “Part of the contract with the contractors is that they comply with the legal requirements.

“I find it disturbing the spot check revealed defects. We take the contractor's performance into account when it comes to re-tendering.”

Checks were also conducted in Mildenhall on March 8 with 18 school vehicles tested and only two found to be fault free.

Most of the vehicles checked on that occasion were coaches with one vehicle given a prohibition notice for having faulty brakes.

Four delayed prohibition notices were issued and 30 other minor defects were found.

Do you think school vehicles should be checked more frequently? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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