GCSE students 'significantly' late for exams in Aylesbury due to traffic chaos

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Youngsters taking crucial GCSE exams in Aylesbury were delayed for over an hour in yesterday’s traffic chaos.

Many parents have contacted their local councillors and MPs asking for assistance after many students did not make into school on time.

In an email to parents, Aylesbury Grammar School confirmed a number of students were ‘significantly late’ for an English Literature exam yesterday morning (13 May).

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The Joint Council of Qualifications advises when a student is significantly late, which is classed as being over an hour late, the candidate must be warned that the awarding body may not accept their script.

Aylesbury Grammar School assured parents that staff had followed exam board protocols and all students were given their full allocated time to sit the exam.

But as one resident said on X, being sat in traffic jams knowing you are going to be late, is an extremely stressful way to prepare for an exam.

Faulty traffic lights in two different parts of Aylesbury needing to be repaired at the same time, appears to have been the main source of Monday’s gridlock.

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Many Aylesbury road users vented on social media after facing delays of more than an hour on Tring Road. Motorists spotted that four-way traffic lights by the Holiday Inn on Aston Clinton Road had stopped working on Sunday (12 May).

A number of roadworks have been authorised this week, photo from David Davies PA ImagesA number of roadworks have been authorised this week, photo from David Davies PA Images
A number of roadworks have been authorised this week, photo from David Davies PA Images

Bucks Council has secured a permit to replace the faulty lights and warned motorists that delays are likely.

There are already other major traffic calming works underway on the same road as part of the project.

Until the end of July council workers are altering lanes, building new calming islands, and speed bumps on the road leading into Aylesbury. Further roadworks linked to scheme on Bierton Road between Bedgrove and Aston Clinton have increased motorists’ long wait to reach the town centre.

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Bierton was described as a ‘disaster zone’ with Thames Water currently completing maintenance work on two different parts of Burcott Lane.

Aylesbury MP Rob Butler claimed on Facebook yesterday evening that Thames Water had been fined by the council in regards to maintenance work in Aylesbury.

The Bucks Herald contacted Mr Butler but his office declined to comment further on the specific reasons for the Fixed Penalty Notice. Thames Water apologised for delays and stated its workers carrying out emergency work to deal with a burst water main. A spokesperson for the company declined to provide further details regarding the FPN.

Mr Butler also said that he understood why so many of his constituents were angry with yesterday’s traffic which was in his words: “Even worse than normal.”

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Delays were also reported in Kingsbrook where the council is completing traffic signal repairs on Douglas Road, carriageway alterations on Bellingham Way and have authorised a lane closure on Stocklake.

Residents have questioned why so many emergency works were authorised at the same time, even when noting the urgent nature of some of the maintenance projects.

Others have shared their own traffic misery stories online with one missing trains into London yesterday morning while traffic was crawling. One parent said their child was sat on a bus for three hours, while undertaking a journey that typically lasts for only 45 minutes.

Councillor Peter Martin said: “Buckinghamshire Council is aware of the severe disruption caused to journeys in Aylesbury yesterday (Monday) and apologises for its impact. We have reviewed the reasons as a matter of urgency to make changes with the aim of easing congestion for the rest of the week.

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“There were already a number of planned roadworks this week in Aylesbury, and yesterday the situation was exacerbated because of emergency Thames Water works on the A418 and emergency traffic light repair works on the A41.

“As the A418 emergency works coincided with scheduled water works in the same location, we have instructed Thames Water to delay these until the emergency works are complete. The repairs to the lights on the A41 (Holiday Inn) junction were completed as a priority yesterday afternoon so traffic should be flowing normally at that location.

“There are also scheduled works taking place on Bellingham Way at the junction with Stocklake until 2 August to improve the signalised junction. Traffic will be managed using the existing traffic lights and lane closures, however due to the impact of the emergency works, we have removed two of the lane closures that were in place for the rest of the week to maximise traffic flow.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation and hope these measures ensure easier journeys in Aylesbury for the rest of this week – this was something of a ‘perfect storm’ but we have acted swiftly to do what we can to ease delays and apologise again for the impact yesterday’s congestion had on travellers.

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“We are very much mindful of the impact of poor traffic conditions on children getting to school particularly during the exam period and we are working with utility companies around how best to schedule works during this crucial time in the academic year.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a response from Buckinghamshire Council and Thames Water