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Over 70% of schools surveyed do not understand minibus safety obligations

The UK’s only Minibus Compliance Course launched by the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association (ISBA) and Castle Driver Training to tackle the gap in knowledge and subsequent safety risks to schools, their drivers and pupils.

Castle Driver Training has been working with the ISBA (Independent School Bursar’s Association) and former Senior Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell, to write and deliver the UK’s only minibus compliance course written specifically for schools and approved by RoSPA.

In a survey conducted by Castle Driver Training in 2017 they discovered over 70% of the 300+ schools asked were not aware of their obligations under the Section 19 Permit, most had never even heard of it despite owning/operating school minibuses.

In reaction to this confusion over minibus management, Castle Driver Training approached the ISBA and RoSPA to create a credible minibus compliance course that would educate staff on this area of operations.

Launched on 25th September in Bicester the course is delivered in two parts, part one being a day’s training in a classroom setting covering;

  1. The legal framework under which schools operate their vehicles, including who have the responsibility for legal compliance
  2. The vehicle and the challenges teacher-drivers face, the required pre-journey checks and safety inspections (with Euro 6 minibus to explore)
  3. The driver’s responsibilities, as well as the schools, and the penalties they could face if they fail to fulfil them
  4. Planning the journey and emergency protocols

The second part of the MCC is a half day visit with the school’s appointed transport manager to assess how compliant they currently are, identify room for improvement and support any changes that need to be made.

Beverley Bell, former Senior Traffic Commissioner for the UK comments ‘The law in this area is complex and not always easily understood by schools and their teaching staff with severe penalties for non-compliance – as well as the risk to the safety of your pupils. It is therefore vital that your school “gets it right”.

John Murphie, Chief Operating Officer of the ISBA commentsThis is a must-attend course that will raise awareness and thus improve safety standards; not just by a “chalk and talk” approach but by the fact that Castle Driver Training has included a follow up visit to ensure compliance with the course material.  When properly implemented in a school this will provide a base for a ‘safety system’ which will be auditable and fully compliant. I hope this can become the basis of a case which will seek to reduce insurance premiums currently paid by schools.’

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