A SCHOOL has moved to reassure parents that it is making rapid improvements after a row over uniforms and new starting times erupted on Facebook.

Teesdale School, in Barnard Castle, came under fire from the Facebook group Spotted in Teesdale last week, after several parents complained that school buses were not getting their children to school for the earlier start time of 8.40am – a new measure introduced this academic year.

A statement by the group said: “New start times at Teesdale School have been thrown into disarray on the very first day of school.

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“Parents of school bus children can no doubt look forward to late attendance letters from the school later in the year as the school bus provision is insufficient especially for those children from Stainton Grove.”

A spokesman for the group said the Stainton Grove bus did not pick up pupils until 8.36am, leaving just four minutes for children to get on at the village and to their classroom.

However, executive headteacher, Janice Gorlach, defended the new policies.

She said: “We are aware of some teething problems with the new uniform and bus routes and we’ve been working with the local authority and our uniform supplier to make sure that these are resolved quickly. However, the majority of parents are happy with how things have gone at the start of term and the changes that are being made to improve the school.

“We are also aware of the use of social media to air frustrations and we want to encourage parents to contact us directly so we can work together to find solutions.”

Dr Gorlach said “rapid improvements are being made” and the school had been placed top in South West Durham for their latest GCSE results while a school makeover during the summer was one of just many improvements planned to “get the school to reach its full potential as quickly as possible”.

She added: “We have our sights firmly set on Teesdale becoming an outstanding school and with the support of parents and the local community, we are certain we can make this aspiration become a reality.”

Complaints over the cost and quality of the unifoirm supplied by Emblematic, have also been echoed at neighbouring Staindrop School – with chairman of governors Steve Leech saying the school is aware of parents' concerns and these will be investigated.

“As chair of Governors, I believe Staindrop Academy’s School uniform is an important way to demonstrate belonging, and to show pride in the school and its wider community,” he said. “We are committed to delivering an outstanding education and school experience for all our pupils and take these issues, and the opinions of our pupils and their families, extremely seriously.”

Adrian White, Durham County Council’s head of transport and contract services, said the council was working with bus companies to accommodate the change in teaching hours at Teesdale School.

He said: “We have been made aware that as the changes are rolled out, there have been issues with three services in the first week of term leading to some students arriving early or late by a short time and we apologise for this.”

No response was received from Emblematic.