Students have missed days of lessons at college and school in the first week of the new term due to problems with buses.

Some pupils at Dorset Studio School and students of Kingston Maurward College have been unable to attend classes following a change in the provider operating the bus for the new academic year.

Pupils from all over Dorset attend the education facilities on the Kingston Maurward site near Dorchester.

Transportation company Kura has taken over the service and there have multiple reports of delayed buses, bus stops and routes being changed with very little notice and buses not turning up.

A letter sent to all parents of affected students said that on Wednesday, September 6, all 12 bus routes were delayed, with many being ‘delayed significantly.’

Concerned parents have been up in arms about this issue, with Elaine Jacklin, whose daughter Keira has missed every day this week at the Studio School, saying: “They’ve caused so much stress, especially when the kids are just going back to school.”

Keira, 14, is supposed to take the bus from Sherborne to the school site and will be studying for her GCSEs this year, with her mum saying it has caused the family a lot of upset.

“They’ve had all summer to sort this out, yet we found out at 3.30pm on the Friday before term starts about the buses changing their routes.”

Kura took over the school transportation service from Nordcat which had its permits revoked from July 24, following a public inquiry into the safety of the buses. An inquiry found Nordcat ‘does not have the competence or capability’ to maintain vehicles after an inspection found a 76% MOT failure rate on its fleet which includes minibuses and larger buses.

Kingston Maurward told the Echo in April it was moving to a different provider of college transport for the new academic year, which will provide “newer vehicles, better technology and travel apps for parents and students to plan journeys, and a significant reduction in costs for all current and new students”.

College Principal Luke Rake said one of the contributing factors to the disruption this week is the late uptake in students.

He said: “Inevitably, the numbers and locations of students are not finalised until the beginning of term as parents and students make their final choices of school or college, and so we always have to tweak routes for a week or two to be as efficient as possible.

“We have also changed some stops this year as we risk assessed all locations for bus stops, as well as reconfiguring the routes to bring students in from all over Dorset and South Somerset.

Dorset Echo: Kingston Maurward Principal Luke RakeKingston Maurward Principal Luke Rake (Image: Freelance)

“If buses are ever delayed, parents are also for the first time able to have instant knowledge of where their children are with an app, a huge step forward.”

Mr Rake said 11 students; seven from the college and four from the studio school had “some issues” on the first day of term, however this was because students had requested transport late after routes had already been planned.

The college senior leadership team has been meeting with Kura in order to seek solutions to the problems.

Dorset Studio School Principal Paul Green wrote a letter to parents this week saying the school has been liaising with Kura about the issues.

He said: “I had hoped that I would be contacting you about all the very many wonderful things happening at school at the start of term, but, understandably, much of our focus has had to be on buses during these first days. This is incredibly frustrating for us all.”

He added: “Whilst some of these issues will be due to an entirely new service operating a complex set of routes for the first time, they are not issues which can endure. We will need to see a correction very soon.”

Kura has been approached by the Echo for comment.