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Another round of bus service alterations effective from Sunday

Posted on Thursday 28th August 2014 at 9:18 pm by SH (Editor)

A First West of England bus, pictured in Bristol city centre.

Another round of alterations to Bradley Stoke’s bus services comes into effect this Sunday (31st August), with the withdrawal of one service (Wessex 13), the introduction of another (First X74) and a reduction in the daytime frequency of a third (First 73).

The Wessex 13 service, which links the Willow Brook Centre with Bristol city centre via Little Stoke, Stoke Lodge, Filton, UWE and Fishponds is being axed “due to a withdrawal of funding”. Introduced in January 2013, the service originally operated every 20 minutes Monday to Friday, but that frequency was later cut to every 24 minutes.

First’s new X74 service is effectively replacing the Wessex 13, with the significant difference that it will use the M32 motorway between UWE and the city centre, allowing journey times between Bradley Stoke and Bristol be reduced to 44 minutes peak and 37 minutes off-peak (compared to 63 minutes and 57 minutes on the 13).

Buses on the new route, which is being subsidised through South Gloucestershire Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, will run every 30 minutes between 6am and 8pm Monday to Saturday. There is no service on Sundays or Bank Holidays.

To support the launch of the new service, First are offering adults the chance to ride the X74 bus for a £1.50 flat fare during September (75 pence for children under 16, £1 for students and young people with photographic ID). Up to two children under five will continue to travel free with a fare paying adult.

Bradley Stoke’s principal bus service, the First 73, will see its frequency reduced from ‘every 10 minutes’ to ‘every 12 minutes’.

The First X73 peak-only express service is unaffected by the changes, except for the first return journey from the city centre, which will depart five minutes later at 4.25pm.

To see the new timetables, visit the Traveline South West website.

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BSCS celebrates “strong” GCSE results but warns official figures will dip

Posted on Thursday 28th August 2014 at 11:53 am by SH (Editor)

GCSE high-achievers at Bradley Stoke Community School.

Students and staff at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) are celebrating another set of “strong” GCSE results, but Executive Headteacher Dave Baker is warning that Department for Education (DfE) performance tables are likely to give the impression that the school has performed worse than in previous years when they are published next January, due to changes in the way the figures are calculated.

Using the ‘new’ methodology defined by the DfE, schools can only count a student’s first attempt at a subject rather than their best or final attempt. There are also restrictions about which combinations of subjects can count and how many vocational qualifications can be included.

When calculated using the ‘old’ methodology, this year’s headline figures at BSCS are almost identical to last year, with 66% of students achieving at least 5 A*-C grades at GCSE including English and maths and 91% achieving 5 A*-C grades.

The school says its is “delighted” to have seen a rise in the number of students getting A* and A grades, with 27% of students obtaining at least 3 A*-A grades.

Outstanding individual achievements highlighted by the school are:

  • Tom Barrett 5 x A*, 4 x A, 2 x B, Distinction* & A in FSMQ Additional Maths
  • Minxin Yu 4 x A*, 5 x A, 2 x B, Distinction*
  • Chathurya Manchanayake 9 x A*, 3 x A, Merit
  • Annabel Phillips 4 x A*, 4 x A, 3 x B, Distinction*
  • Zoe Kitson 5 x A*, 3 x A, 4 x B, Distinction*
  • Mary Thomas 4 x A*, 7 x A, 1 x B, Distinction
  • Anya Clayton 4 x A*, 6 x A, 2 x B, Distinction*
  • Callum Bingham 6 x A*, 3 x A, 3 x B, Distinction
  • Alice Whittingham 11 x A, 1 x B, Distinction*
  • Farai Chiwah 2 x A*, 9 x A, 1 x B, Distinction
  • Rasheed Bello 3 x A*, 7 x A, 2 x B, Distinction*
  • Neave Spikings 4 x A*, 4 x A, 3 x B, Distinction*, Pass & A in FSMQ Additional Maths
  • Sophie Deliot 6 x A*, 4 x A, 2 x B, Pass & A in FSMQ Additional Maths

More: DfE figures will drop despite "stunning" performances »

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Bradley Stoke pupils try out pedal power for getting to secondary school

Posted on Monday 25th August 2014 at 10:13 pm by SH (Editor)

Pupils leave Meadowbrook Primary on their transition ride to BSCS.

Starting secondary school can be a great opportunity for young people to travel independently to school and pupils in Bradley Stoke have been busy preparing for this by taking part in a series of guided ‘transition rides’.

Pupils who have achieved their Bikeability level 2 were offered transition rides to help them build their skills in riding the route to their new secondary school ready for the start of term in September. As part of the ride they are shown where to secure their bike and helmet so there are no big surprises on the big day.

On Monday 7th July, pupils from Meadowbrook Primary School took part in a ride to Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS), while others from Wheatfield Primary School rode to BSCS and Patchway Community College later the same day.

Pam Williams, road safety officer at South Gloucestershire Council, said:

“The transition rides are aimed at encouraging students to think about how they can travel to their new school as well as showing them the benefits of cycling. The council’s Bikeability accredited instructors try out a couple of different routes to and from school with the students to help boost their skills ready for when the time comes to make that all important journey to their new secondary school.”

Transition rides have been funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund Active Travel to school project. Strong links between primary and secondary schools has ensured that more pupils have taken part this year, with seven secondary schools across South Gloucestershire getting involved compared to just two last year.

This article originally appeared in the August 2014 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,450 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Fine weather forecast for Carnival Saturday

Posted on Friday 22nd August 2014 at 8:08 pm by SH (Editor)

2013 Bradley Stoke Carnival.

The weather is looking set fair for tomorrow’s Bradley Stoke Carnival, which starts with a colourful internationally-themed walking carnival parade, leaving the Brook Way Activity Centre [BS32 9DA] at 1pm and then parading down Brook Way to Jubilee Green [BS32 8HL].

The parade is open to everyone and all community groups and individuals are invited to join Bezerkaz Circus’ stilt walkers and other performers.

Jubilee Green will play host to a family funfair, classic and kit car displays, stalls, face painting, ice cream seller, licensed bar, live music, a demonstration area (hosted by Bradley Stoke Radio) and free drumming workshops. Music acts include The Twerzels (Wurzels tribute band), Dave Harris, Mia and Tuesday Eagle, Spin Sister and S.A.M.S Band.

Key timings: 11am Funfair opens; 12pm Carnival field opens; 2pm (approx) Carnival parade arrives; 3pm: Live music starts; 7.15pm (approx) Stage closes.

A 1950 vintage red bus will be providing ‘free of charge’ short bus rides around the north of Bradley Stoke, leaving and returning via a dedicated temporary bus stop just outside Jubilee Green and running from 2pm to 5pm.

A number of hot air balloon ascents from the Jubilee Centre site are planned over the carnival weekend (weather permitting). The forecast is currently looking good for launches at 6am and 7pm on Saturday and Sunday.

For the latest carnival news, visit the Bradley Stoke Carnival page on Facebook.

More: Full carnival programme to view and download »

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Wooden posts prove no deterrent as travellers return to Bradley Stoke Way

Posted on Friday 22nd August 2014 at 9:13 am by SH (Editor)

Illegal traveller encampment on Bradley Stoke Way. [Credit: Tim Bull]

A group of travellers with more than ten vehicles has set up camp on a grass verge alongside Bradley Stoke Way overnight (Thursday 21st/Friday 22nd August).

The same strip of land, near Primrose Bridge (between Aldi and the Willow Brook Centre), was the site of a ten-day illegal traveller encampment in June.

Three vehicles were seen at the site shortly after 10pm last night and by 6.15am this morning the encampment had grown to include at least eleven vehicles.

The land on which the travellers are camped is owned by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), which was widely criticised during the June episode for taking a “weak” approach to resolving the situation.

Following the previous encampment, Bradley Stoke mayor Cllr John Ashe, frustrated at SGC’s lack of action, arranged for a set of four wooden posts to be installed on the access ramp to the site in an effort to “prevent another incursion”. This morning, only two of the posts remain and one of two trees planted on the ramp only last week has also disappeared.

Town and district councillor Ben Walker, who was highly critical of SGC during and after the June encampment, has already written to Amanda Deeks, SGC’s chief executive, saying:

“Here we go again. Travellers on the same piece of land but this time, they removed a tree and two timber posts to gain access.”

“This is criminal damage and forced entry so these travellers should be charged as such and removed from site TODAY.”

“Another weak approach and drawn out negotiation simply won’t do this time.”

Local MP Jack Lopresti was also critical of SGC for apparently preferring to “persuade” the travellers to move on, rather than taking legal action. He even raised the matter in parliament (on 30th June), where he was told by Secretary of State Eric Pickles that: “… if  action is taken promptly, the law is adequate”.

Photo: Traveller encampment at 6.15am this morning. [Credit: Tim Bull]

Read more: Reader comments (on the BSJ Facebook page).

More: MP "deeply irritated to see travellers back on the site" »

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