School coach driver for Wallington primary school sacked after running out of petrol on M23
A driver has been sacked after the coach he was driving ran out of petrol leaving 60 school children stranded on a motorway hard shoulder.
Children from High view Primary School, Wallington, were heading out on a school trip to Bignor Roman Villa in West Sussex when the coach ground to a halt not long after setting off.
Despite having three fuel cards on board, which allowed the driver to fill up at various petrol stations, the experienced driver failed to do so on the morning of October 12.
The coach spluttered to a standstill on the hard shoulder of the M23 and 60 children and adults on board were forced to wait for an hour while the company, Mitcham Belle, sent replacement buses.
Police arrived on the scene first and placed a makeshift cordon around the coach to make sure it was not hit by other vehicles.
Nobody was harmed in the incident, which occurred between 9.45am and 10.45am, and everyone remained calm, according to the coach company.
Kevin Wilde, transport manager for the bus company said: "The driver has been dismissed for gross misconduct. It is not as if he had only been with us for a couple of weeks, he had been with us for six years. There is absolutely no excuse for what he did. It was complete irresponsibility on the drivers part."
"The school has been a customer of ours for a long time and we have a good relationship with them and will continue to do so. There was absolutely no reason why this should happen, he had the tools to avoid the situation but he didn't use them."
Elizabeth Brailsford, Head teacher at High View Primary School said: "The staff and parents on the trip ensured that the children's needs were paramount and were met throughout. Two new coaches were ordered to transport the children safely back to school for approximately 12pm. The trip has been rescheduled at no extra expense. A letter was sent to parents on the same day to inform them of the situation."