A SCHOOL is offering pupils free breakfasts and moving forward bus times in a bid to avoid chaos being caused by a ten-day road closure, a councillor has revealed.

Mike Steptoe, Essex County Council councillor for Roche South confirmed the King Edmund School, in Vaughan Close, Rochford, is taking the drastic move to all buses forward by ten minutes and offer free breakfasts for children forced to arrive early.

A large part of Sutton Road, close to the Purdeys Industrial Estate, will be closed for the whole of this week following the discovery of a collapsed sewer under the road.

Anglian Water teams are currently working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to resolve problems.

Mr Steptoe, praised the actions of King Edmund School and the speed and efficiency of Anglian Water’s teams in responding to the problem.

He said: “King Edmund is working hard to provide free breakfasts to make sure pupils are fed before the day.

“The earlier pick-up time will make a bit of an issue; however, it is a great challenge to get sleeping teenagers and children awake.

“Thankfully, it is half term next week, but it is never a good time to do these things.”

Mr Steptoe added that plans will be confirmed with parents over the weekend on potentially making the pick-up times even earlier and providing additional measures to help pupils.

Cadent Gas works at the Bell junction, on the A127, were due to end on Saturday but the councillor feared any delay on the completion would cause even bigger problems for children.

Mr Steptoe added “With works taking place at the Bell interchange on the A127, this is a perfect storm and the school and Anglian Water have responded well to this.

“Crews down at the site are anxious to get it started and anxious to get it done, they understand the issue and the problems because the nearby industrial estate has a lot of business there and Sutton Road is an important access road to Rochford and Southend.

“They are working seven days over the weekend, and they are doing 12-hour shifts, maybe with two crews alternating.

“We have asked for 24 hours of works but that may be unachievable.”

Anglian Water are currently working to repair the four-metre-deep sewer pipe and are pumping the sewer to ensure it can be accessed.