This is why this Portsmouth school has a red London bus in its playground

A CITY centre school has unveiled its latest resource to inspire children’s learning – a red London bus.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 9:52 am
Updated Thursday, 9th January 2020, 9:52 am

The number 158 Blackhorse Road, Walthamstow, service will now be welcoming passengers of a different kind as the children of St Jude’s Primary School hop on board for a learning journey with a difference.

The bus will provide a meeting space for the school’s Service Families Club, a whole class drama space and an area for quiet pupil reflection. The upstairs is to be used to create individual learning pods for one to one support work.

Joint headteacher Izzy Lewis said: ‘This is something exciting for the children – I don’t know any other schools with a red London bus in their playground. The children are already really looking forward to using the bus. It provides a different learning environment away from the classroom which can really spark the children’s imagination.’

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Picture: Chris Moorhouse (080120-06)

It’s a sentiment shared by pupils.

Year 3 pupil, Sofia Hearn, aged seven, said: ‘It’s really exciting to come on the bus. It reminds me of the Harry Potter bus and makes me feel creative.’

Classmate Liam Kelly, also seven, added: ‘It’s really good to have the bus as we can use it for meetings and for learning outside the classroom.’

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Children with their 'learning bus', in the playground of St Jude's C of E Primary School. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (080120-08)

While the bus still needs to be renovated it has already taken up residence in the school playground where a number of children have take part in a ‘role play taster session’.

Year 1 pupil, Bea Harrison-Jones, aged five, commented: ‘I was amazed when I first saw the bus parked on the playground – I thought I was dreaming.’

The bus was drove to the school and donated for free by Stagecoach South.

Joint head teacher, Rachael Osborne, said: ‘We were looking at ways to create more space in our existing school and one of the staff suggested contacting Stagecoach. We enquired about getting a bus and to our surprise they said there was one we could have. We are so grateful.’

Teacher Miss Lewis and from left, Morgana Eaton, 7, Samuel Cai, 6, Liam Kelly, 7, Bea Harrison-Jones, 5, Sofia Hearn, 7, Mia Saville, 7, and Mutsa Zinyemba, 5, inside their 'learning bus'. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (080120-09)

Stacey Churton, marketing manager at Stagecoach South, said: ‘It’s wonderful to see the children and teachers so excited at the prospect of turning it into such a unique learning space.’

The school have so far raised £387 through Southsea Waitrose’s Community Matters initiative. The full cost of renovating the bus, including the installation of lighting and electricity, is estimated to be about £3,000.

The school would have unveiled the bus earlier but was waiting for council ratification following the objection of one resident.

Izzy said: ‘It really is a fantastic project and if anyone can help to secure this additional funding then I would urge them to get in touch.’

Anyone who would like to donate to the school’s cause can do so by going to http://www.st-judes.portsmouth.sch.uk/Donate-to-the-Bus/