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Bus in old pond at school near Norwich to become innovative learning hub

PUBLISHED: 20:49 21 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:07 22 July 2019

Bawburgh Big Bus Project. Members of Bawburgh School, together with staff from Kerley Recovery, Easton College and First. PIC: Zoe Courtney.

Bawburgh Big Bus Project. Members of Bawburgh School, together with staff from Kerley Recovery, Easton College and First. PIC: Zoe Courtney.

Archant

Norwich once famously had a double decker which fell down a hole in the road - and it now has a bus in an old pond.

A bus which fell into a sinkhole on Earlham Road, Norwich in March 1988. Harrison Group Environmental, which is based in the city, investigated the cause of the sinkhole. Picture: Archant archivesA bus which fell into a sinkhole on Earlham Road, Norwich in March 1988. Harrison Group Environmental, which is based in the city, investigated the cause of the sinkhole. Picture: Archant archives

It was in March 1988 that a sinkhole in the centre of Norwich swallowed a bus after a medieval chalk mine collapsed under Earlham Road, taking with it a number 26 bus.

And now, more than 30 years later, a bus has ended up in an old pond at a school near Norwich.

But thankfully the pond has been filled in by an army of volunteers so the vehicle can be used by pupils at The Bawburgh School as an unusual learning hub.

The school, based at Hockering Lane, was struggling for space and came up with the unusual idea of a Big Ideas Bus - somewhere for small groups to go and work separately outside the classroom.

The school was successful in winning an Aviva Community Fund grant to support the project and set to work on looking for the right bus to make the dream a reality.

It was then that First Buses stepped in and offered to donate one of their buses which was coming out of service.

The bus was to be put on the site of an old pond at the school, but before it could get to its new home the former pond had to be filled in.

And after days of hard work - and the generous assistance of a number of companies - the school was ready for the bus and with it now in place is preparing to create the space that the staff and children are dreaming of.

Carla Stedman, headteacher, said: "The children, staff and I are very excited about what the Bawburgh Big Ideas Bus is going to bring to the school. We are very short of space so to have a unique break out area for the children use is great. We want to include the children as much as possible in the project, currently they are all designing how they would like the bus to look on the outside."

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The school's head teacher added the Friends of Bawburgh School have worked "tirelessly" to ensure the bus will be the very best for the children and has also been "amazed" by the generosity of a number of firms, including First buses, that have helped with the ambitious project.

Parents delighted with 'truly fantastic' bus scheme

Parents of children at the school have backed the Big Bus scheme.

One parent, Stacey Ashworth, said: "We're so excited to have the bus at school.

"It's a tough project (even getting it here) but it's lovely to come together with the rest of the school community to help make this happen.

"The extra space is much needed so we will keep working to make it happen and look forward to our kids being able to benefit from everyone's hard work."

Another parent, Suzie Trundle, said: "It has been fabulous to see the whole school community pull together to make the Bawburgh Bus Project a success. What greater way to unite friends and families than through encouraging a love of reading in our children. The students have been so excited witnessing the arrival of the bus."

She added: "It's been truly fantastic to see the buzz that this project has created throughout the school."

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