Journey could McFly by soon

18th February 2005 at 00:00
When a committee of politicians thinks that the latest chart hits will "help calm pupils and reduce misbehaviour", it is surely time for any self-respecting rock star to hang up his leather trousers.

But the Welsh Assembly's education committee has suggested fitting "entertainment systems" to school buses and letting young people decide what music is played. It is one of many recommendations designed to make journeys safer by improving the quality of the service and encouraging better behaviour.

Carys Davies, 16, a Carmarthenshire member of Funky Dragon, the Assembly's organisation for children and young people, welcomed the idea.

Her preference is for Maroon 5 and McFly, but she warned against individuals forcing their music on others, citing Robbie Williams. "I like him, but lots of people don't," she said. "The radio makes more sense because there's a mixture of music."

Tomi Rolands, 17, a member for Anglesey who also likes Maroon 5 but enjoys Blink 182 and Queen, said: "Music would be good because it distracts people, but everyone has different taste."

Pat Harris, director of Belt Up School Kids, said: "Music works because if they don't behave they have to listen to classical music and that doesn't go down well. The drivers often say, 'I'd rather listen to their music than listen to them fighting and shouting'."

The committee's draft report has also recommended the introduction of a code of conduct for pupils, parents, schools and drivers as well as more adult supervisors on secondary-school buses. It also wants seatbelts and CCTV cameras in all vehicles and for double-deckers to be phased out.

The Assembly has been under pressure to come up with an all-Wales school transport policy since the death of 12-year-old Stuart Cunningham-Jones in December 2002. He died when the double-decker in which he was returning from Cowbridge comprehensive, Vale of Glamorgan, crashed.

The committee will consider the report again on March 9.

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