The bus is FINISHED!


It’s been 2 years in the making and certainly longer than any of us anticipated, hampered by COVID set-backs, delays we couldn’t foresee and Mother Nature! But we made it, we did it! The bus is FINISHED!

Let me take you back to early 2019 and a fenced off area which was unloved and had a 15 x 5m empty pond, decking which was falling apart and humungous weeds. After learning we had won the Aviva Community Funding we began on our journey. In Feb 2019 we ripped out a hedge, managed to obtain 40 tonnes of earth FOR FREE and backfilled that pond. The number of man hours put in to shift that earth by hand and a mini digger was immense. Foundations had to be dug for the bus to sit on and the ramp up onto the field had to be widened to make way for the bus. MORE earth had to be removed to take the bank back by around 2m. It’s fair to say it all seemed an impossible job. But as you know, all good things come to those who wait… In May of 2019 a fantastic group of people came together to tow, drag, push and pull our double decker into its final position.

Fast forward to 2021 and things have been pretty quiet on the blog front, initially due to COVID 2.0 and then 3.0 and home schooling. But then things picked up, the weather got better and the bus elves (aka us) reappeared to fight the good fight and get this job done. It started with painting….much painting. We painted all the wood work, as much metal work as we could and then the plastic! The horrid purple disappeared for a crisp grey/white colour. Painting was swiftly followed by a deep clean and carpets. The carpets were probably the single biggest thing since the electrics to make a huge difference to the whole ascetics of the bus. They instantly changed it and made it suddenly feel very real and close to the end. Hicks Flooring who fitted the carpets for us loved an unusual job and being let loose on a project they could play with and the final result was wonderful.

I managed to get the seats in after several attempts and some head scratching as they didn’t quite want to fit as they had come out. This was a job I had been itching to do for ages as it seemed an eternity since we had removed them in 2019! Hicks had also left us some carpet tiles so I set about covering the odd areas we had. I’m not sure I’d consider a career in carpet fitting but enjoyed the challenge of trying to figure out how to fit carpet to an old fire extinguisher well and above stairs to name a few! Kate and family also made seats for the back wheel arches which just added to the whole theme and look beautiful.

At the start of August Totally Dynamic wrapped the bus in vinyl for us and this was hugely exciting. So many colours were introduced and the bus finally looked at home on the field. David from Totally Dynamic was brilliant and worked under warm conditions until late in the evening to get this finished. It was so exciting to see the end result and it was oh so worth it.

Since then we have been adding the final touches to add that je ne sais quoi and then it was done. 2 years in the making and we had done it. There are still a few jobs to be finished but these won’t hinder use, so it is time for us to hand the bus over to the school at the start of term and let the children use the area they have been craving to get into.

We need to say a massive thank you to EVERYONE involved. All of the companies who have provided their time, services and supplies for that matter. And all the volunteers who have given up hundreds of hours to help dig, build, pull apart, paint, clean any many other jobs. Without all your help we wouldn’t be where we are now.

All that’s left to say is let the fun begin! (Mrs Courtney)

August 2020 – COVID 19 set backs

Every Grand Design has its set back, and COVID-19 was ours. As the country was forced into lockdown in March, we were faced with a dilemma. What now?

The answer was to make the best of a bad situation. Whilst key worker children were still in school, we chose to get on with all those jobs that never get done around school, new sheds went up, the site was sorted, weeding was done and Lee who was furloughed cracked on with woodwork, squirrelling away at the bus.

In the meantime we got in contact with Norwich Electrical to help us out with the internal electrics in the bus. The electrics have been an issue for a while, for a number of reasons so it was a relief when they said they could help. Andy and Adrian from Norwich Electrical kindly visited when restrictions were lifted a little and had some fab ideas which worked with our budget and still maintained the bus feel we wanted. James was then dispatched to us to make the magic happen, and that he did! Within a few days he had stripped out old electrics, run in new cables, put in a few crafty hidey holes for plugs and lighting and brought the bus to life. The lighting alone has made a massive difference and some clever arrangements have lit up the woodwork beautifully. Check out some of the photos – more to follow when it gets darker!!

We have also been busy working on the outside areas, laying new paths which the boys did in 30c heat and rock solid ground, they really do deserve a medal!

COVID may have set us back, but we certainly fought back! 

Bus Blog 15th March 2020

Welcome to the new year and hopefully lots of updates. We have been out of action over the winter months mainly due to the weather, back to back storms and a couple of repairs! However, things are moving again and we have set a date of July to be completed – fingers and toes crossed a big party and grand opening awaits!

The bus survived the winter months remarkably well with only minor leaks, which will be re-sealed as soon as it’s a bit warmer. The new summer house however took a bit of a battering one weekend and lost its roof – check out the photos! Thankfully there was no serious damage to the roof or the structure, so Lee and Paul were able to fix and patch it up.

A group of us gathered to begin re upholstering the seats and Claire joined us one weekend to start on re-covering cushions with donated fabric. My mum came in to show the others what to do and Kathy soon became the upholstery version of the karate kid, wielding her electric staple gun like a pro. The seats were covered with fabric really kindly donated by Norfolk Upholstery, whilst Claire worked on fabric and cushions donated by Mrs Duffy’s family.

Lee also came back to do some more of the woodwork for the bus and started on an outside canopy / shelter. When this is complete it will add an extra area for the children to use outdoors and will look amazing. He has also been working on the inside of the bus converting his imagination into reality.

We are now turning our minds to internal electrics, flooring, furnishings…and many more exciting things.

Bus Blog 20th October 2019

Time for a long overdue and much needed update. Since the arrival of the bus we’ve been squirrelling away, the summer holidays happened and the seasons have shifted from nice warm days to the damp gloomy autumn days we have experienced recently. However it’s not all bad as work has progressed regardless. So where to start?

After the buses arrival we managed to find a scaffold platform which has been a god send for Mike Chris and Paul who have been sealing the bus. Lotus really kindly donated several boxes of sealant which has been amazing and allowed the boys to crack on. Again as the seasons have changed we are still having to keep an eye out for leaks and plug any gaps but the end is in sight.

The bus seats were also stripped out and removed which presented a couple of problems, one being that the seats downstairs were bolted to the underside of the bus. This did mean some crawling and shuffling around but the seats eventually came free. The second problem was the bolts upstairs had fused to the floor!! Although the seats themselves came away, it left the bracket on the floor exposed which I can tell you was painful to trip over…which I did…multiple times! Ouch! This was only resolved recently after an angle grinder was taken to them.

With the seats removed and the boys monkeying around on the scaffolding we started on stripping an old scratch proof coating from the windows. Because the bus is an ex London bus, the requirements at the time were for the windows to be scratch proof – meaning a plastic coating. This hadn’t aged well and had lifted in many places so needed to go which was an unpleasant job. As it was so old it was like dust when it came off of the windows and made quite a mess, however plenty of scrubbing and scraping we shifted it and the bus is looking so much better for it!

Just as the summer holidays started the electricians moved in and started on phase one to get electricity to the bus. This was a really big day and meant we could crack on without the need for the school to be open. The electricians stripped out the old circuit box in the bus which helpfully has a lockable door, this was a messy but necessary job to remove the redundant wiring and made way for the new fuse box and sockets. They then connected up an armoured cable to the schools fuse box and suspended it between the school and the bus.

Moving on in time, once school started, we decided it was time to seed the bank to re-instate the grass and a decision was also made to seed near the bus to try and slow down weed growth. We spent a weekend weeding the bank and prepping it and then a further weekend with a rotovator turning over and levelling the ground near the bus. This was a fun and tough activity and we can safely say Kate, Rachel and I crawled to bed that night. The summer house was also built the same day which was very exciting!

We have also had Lee on site (Miss Stedman’s partner) who is amazing with wood and has started on the internal of the bus. I’m keeping this under wraps for now as Lee has some amazing plans but check out the pics for some sneak previews.

Miss C. Stedman, Executive Headteacher

The Bawburgh School, Hockering Lane, Bawburgh, NR9 3LR

Tel: 01603 742329 | Email:

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The Barford and Bawburgh Federation

Barford Primary School
Chapel Street, Barford, Norwich, NR9 4AB

The Bawburgh School
Hockering Lane, Bawburgh, NR9 3LR