UPDATE Newbury Park children off school with ‘shock’ after coach crash

Some students are off school today after the shock of being involved in a coach crash which left a woman in a critical condition.

Year 10 students from Oaks Park High School, Oaks Lane, Newbury Park, were on their way back from a geography trip when their coach was in collision with a black Mercedes.

Although headteacher Steve Wilks said the driver tried to swerve to avoid the car, police have confirmed there was a “head on” collision.

It is believed the Mercedes then caught fire which the coach driver helped to put out.

Mr Wilks said: “It could have been a lot worse. The coach driver did an exemplary job keeping control of the vehicle and he helped to put the fire out in the car.”

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The coach had 46 students on board and two teachers with another minibus travelling behind the main coach.

Mr Wilks said: “The members of staff acted really well and got the students out the back of the coach because the car was on fire and on to the grass verge.”

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The collision happened on Friday at about 1.15pm. Emergency services were called and medical teams checked all of the schoolchildren, aged between 14 and 15, for injuries.

Five children from the school were taken to hospital with minor injuries including whiplash and a cut lip and were later discharged.

“The police called me on Saturday morning and said everyone was really calm at the scene and were very complementary about the students and staff,” Mr Wilks said.

““One or two [students] are still off who were shaken up by the incident.”

The students left for the school trip in Norfolk on Wednesday and were travelling back home on the A11 in Elveden when the collision happened.

“The staff dealt with hard incident in a very professional manner and the students’ behaviour was excellent and reacted extremely well to a very difficult situation.”

A woman remains in a critical but stable condition and, together with two other women, was airlifted to hospital.

The hospitalised children were taken to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

Sgt Bob Patterson, of Suffolk Police serious collision investigation team, said the cause of the crash was still being investigated, but the said the collision between the coach, operated by a Milton Keynes firm, and car was a “head on impact”.

However, he said the weather conditions were not a factor as it was bright and sunny at the time of the incident.

The collision happened near the A1101 roundabout and B1106 junction.

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