BUS boss Justin Pickford says that with just a few weeks until Devizes School is set to return rules are changing by the day for transport.

The Faresavers director said: “We just don’t know what is going to happen. We are as ready as we can be but the information from central government changes by the day.” Devizes School has advised parents to encourage pupils to walk or cycle if possible.

Mr Pickford, whose company serves schools throughout north Wiltshire, said: “At the moment the situation is very much like it is with whole return to school issue with the Prime Minister saying they have to go back and the unions saying they musn’t.

“I think Wiltshire Council is supporting us as much as they can but the information from central government is very patchy.”

He said that at one point his firm was told that ordinary passengers would not be allowed to get on to the school buses, which usually happens on some routes, and that buses would have to do two round trips each morning and evening so the buses could be half full.

He said: “I think that has now changed but we still do not have any information on masks. It could be very difficult to enforce mask wearing when there are a lot of teenagers.”

He believes one way to solve the problem would be for coaches usually used for holidays or day trips to be turned into school buses.

“A lot of people who were once drivers and then got other better paid jobs but still have a licence have been in contact recently because of the general job situation. We were told at the weekend that the government is making additional money available for school transport so this could be a way forward.”

Wiltshire Council’ s cabinet member for transport Bridget Wayman said: “Normal transport provision will be in place from the start of term for those students who use dedicated home to school transport organised by Wiltshire Council.

“The government has said there is no requirement for students to be transported in bubbles, as it is not possible to do so, considering the very limited number of vehicles and drivers available to maintain social distancing to that level.

“We will let parents know as soon as we have the detailed government guidance on home to school transport.”

“The government is advising people to consider walking or cycling to school as an alternative to using public transport where it is practical and safe to do so. Where students do use the public transport network, measures will be put in place to ensure buses remain within current capacity guidelines. We will of course ensure this abides with the government guidelines relating to home to school transport.”

As unions and the Government come to loggerheads over the safety of children returning to school parents of children at Devizes School must wait until next week to find out if their children will be going back to the classroom as planned.

Dr Nicholas Capstick CEO of the White Horse Federation, which runs the school, told parents: “With current news full of speculation and conjecture about local lockdowns and the reopening of schools, we are poised to take any required action. I will update on 21st August.”