DRYBROOK pupils and parents were given an early Christmas present yesterday in the form of a dramatic County Council ‘handbrake turn’ on a decision to axe free school buses.

Last month the council dropped the bombshell announcement that from January 1 the free school bus service from Drybrook to Dene Magna School would cease.

This would force pupils without alternative transport to walk the gauntlet of the unlit ‘Stenders’ country road with no footpath, sometimes in the dark.

The decision was made on the advice of council officials who, only last November deemed the road from Drybrook to Mitcheldean over the Stenders unsafe for pupils, but who had since reversed their judgment.

However, following an outcry of protests from parents and local councillors, Shire Hall has changed direction yet again.

Gloucestershire County Council said after an independent re-evaluation of the route, it will now reinstate the service.