A hotline for worried parents was set up in the aftermath of the accident as the community at Kingston Maurward grappled with what had happened.

The college, which has 4,000 students from age 16, has also offered additional support to the students involved to help them come to terms with it.

College principal Clare Davison said: “The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority and obviously we are extremely concerned about this incident.

“We have set up a team at the college and we are liaising directly with the emergency services.

“The police have informed us that a small number of our students on the First Buses Route D bus from Kinson have been taken to hospital with minor injuries.

“The remaining students were taken to a safe location where the police have contacted parents to collect them or they have returned to college.

“We are talking to First Buses and will work closely with the police to understand how this occurred. We will also be offering additional support to the students involved.”

A spokesman for First Hampshire and Dorset said: “The exact cause of the incident is not yet known but it will be thoroughly investigated.

“Our team are at the scene and they will work closely with the relevant authorities to determine exactly what has happened. “Our thoughts, however, are currently with those who have sustained injuries as a result of this incident; we wish them all a full and speedy recovery.”

The First Hampshire and Dorset spokesman added: “Safety is our number one priority. All of our drivers are fully trained and hold all relevant qualifications before transporting passengers.”