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‘School times should be same everywhere’

LOCALschools should “get their act together” and all start and finish at the

same time, according to bus boss Norman Kemp. Mr Kemp, managing director of

Nu Venture, claims haphazard start and finish times, inset days and dif- ferent school holiday dates were a “nightmare” for bus operators try- ing to provide an adequate service. He says bus companies could lay

on more buses at a fixed time if they knew the numbers of pupils requir- ing public transport, alleviating pressure on parents and helping ease congestion on the roads. He said: “We have an education system that thinks about the teach- ers, not about the children. If the schools got their act together, it would be easier to get childrenhome on one or multiple buses. “If they had the same start and fin-

ish times, it would remove an un- necessary expense for us and there would be less congestion at bus stops. “Parents should lobby against schools finishing early. We are a business – not a social service!” Although most secondary schools

have pupil registrations at about 8.30am, final classes finish at varying times. In StAugustineAcademy it is, with the exception of Thursdays, 2.50pm; for New Line Learning and Cornwallis academies it is 3pm, while both Maidstone Grammar School for boys and for girls end at 3.30pm. MrKempwas responding to com- plaints by parents of pupils at In-

Sean leading theway to fitness GYMenthusiast Sean Osborne is proving that disability is no barrier to a career in the health and fitness industry. Forced to leave his job as a joiner

after having a leg amputated, Sean qualified as a fitness instructor through the Instructability scheme and is now working at Larkfield Leisure Centre. Sean was 25 when he was diagnosed with chronicmyeloid leukaemia, which caused a gangrenous infection. To save his life, his leg was removed at the hip. He had been working as a joiner for more than six years, but knew it would be impossible

4 Inside this edition:

FUNDING has been secured to de- silt Clare Lake in East Malling. For details see the four-page supple- ment by Malling Action Partner- ship, which supports people, businesses and events in the 11 parishes in the Malling area.

THE BIG DEAL Free delivery and collection. Subject to terms and conditions.

victa Grammar School that they could not rely on buses to get their children into schools on time. Congestion in the town centre

often meant the buseswere delayed, making the children late for school. Onemother with daughters at In-

victa said all parents wanted their children to be independent, but the bus services made it impossible. It also meant she could not work full-time as she needed to be on hand for the school run. MrKempadded:“We simply can-

not marry the needs of four to six different schools. “Many parents seem unwilling to challenge the schools – but they should challenge the

22 Help homeless

this winter THE Downs Mail is inviting read- ers once again to give their gener- ous support to Maidstone Churches’ Winter Shelter. The campaign will run from December 8 until the end of February. Seven churches will take turns to open at 7pm to pro- vide a meal, warmth, company,

entertainment, a bed and breakfast. Last year 37 homeless people re-

ceived help. “The needs have not diminished,” said Salvation Army Major Grayson Williams (pictured), chairman of the shelter trustees. Readers can help by volunteering in the evenings, giving food, cash or small gifts, or helping out with pro- fessional skills.

To help, contact 07906 628413 or Donations can also be taken to the Salvation Army citadel in Union Street between 9am and noon.

Part exchange your old furniture for new!

The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 01622 691 291 www.lincolnfur

November 2014 No. 211 News

Jobs to be lost

UP to 400 full-time roles could be lost, as KCC aims to save £206m during the next three fi- nancial years.

13 Megan’s Wish List

A CHARITY in memory of Megan Fox has been set up to help fami- lies whose children have life-changing conditions. 15

Flood protection

TONBRIDGE and Malling Council has pledged £100,000 to im- prove capacity at the Leigh flood storage area.

New development

CONSENT was given for 635 new homes, a primary school, com- munity hall and place of worship in Kings Hill. 26

School bomb scare

PARENTS were asked to collect their children from a primary school after a pupil found a suspected bomb shell.

26 Shopping disruption

TRADERS and customers will suf- fer four months of disruption when Week Street is dug up to lay a water main.


Parish Councils Comment


46-47 30


Crime Reports 34 42-43

A COUNCILLOR was stripped of their position in Aylesford; an order was placed for 25 solar- powered Christmas trees in East Peckham; an individual was to be quizzed by police about a fake Twitter account in Leybourne; a survey suggested Offham had problems with volume of traffic, heavy lorries and speeding; a damaged bus shelter in Ryarsh was to be replaced.


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