Safety on school transport
We make a number of checks on the vehicles, drivers and Passenger Assistants (people who give extra support to individuals with additional needs) we use for school transport services.
Our transport partners Travel Service Solutions (TSS) have a code of conduct that all drivers and passenger assistants must follow.
Safety checks on vehicles
Basic safety issues such as tyre pressure are checked routinely.
In addition, we make particular checks on vehicles subject to high demand, such as buses that transport a large number of high school pupils.
We also check for the safe transport of child seat and wheelchair users. Before a wheelchair user travels in a vehicle for the first time, we carry out a wheelchair assessment.
Background checks and training for drivers and Passenger Assistants
All drivers and Passenger Assistants must have an enhanced DBS check and complete an NSPCC safeguarding course.
We arrange for further training as needed where drivers and PAs are working with individual children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND). We also make sure the transport will be appropriate
Some specialist schools provide additional training for drivers, and we encourage drivers to attend.
Where we use taxis, we use only licensed taxi operators who have passed strict checks as part of their application for a licence.
The TSS Code of Conduct
All our transport is either run by or contracted out by our transport partners, Transport Service Solutions (TSS). TSS have a code of conduct they expect all drivers and passenger assistants to follow.
Drivers and Passenger Assistants must not:
- swear or make inappropriate remarks, including those that are personal, sexual, racist or which could be judged to be inappropriate in any way
- smoke (including the use of e/vapour devices), or allow any other person to smoke in the vehicle at any time, or outside the vehicle whilst loading/unloading passengers
- consume any alcohol before or during contracted journeys, or at any time beforehand on the same day, including drinking without exceeding the legal alcohol limit for driving. It should be noted that alcohol from drinking the day before can remain in the bloodstream for up to 24 hours, and that any alcohol can affect concentration, reaction times and judgement
- drive whilst under the influence of any substances or medication that could affect driving ability, including prescription drugs when advised it is not safe to do so by the GP
- manhandle any passenger or act in a manner that may be misconstrued
- hug, hold, cuddle, tickle or have any unnecessary physical contact with any passenger
- enter into horseplay with any passenger, on or off the vehicle
- discuss anything of a personal or intimate nature with passengers
- make any personal remark about, or to, a passenger, even if it is complementary
- call any passenger by a nickname, pet name or endearment such as love, darling etc
- give or receive passengers’ gifts or send them cards, letters or text messages, e.g. for birthday, Easter, Christmas
- exchange phone numbers, email addresses, social media sites, social or personal details with passengers
- take photographs of any passenger, including pictures using any digital media, e.g. mobile phone, tablet or in-car camera
- handle any money on behalf of passengers or enter their home
- deviate from the contracted route or drop-off or pick up from anywhere other than the specified locations
- carry any passengers other than those specified
- have any social contact with passengers, unless they are already a family friend and have the appropriate consent, e.g. from parents or carers
Drivers and Passenger Assistants MUST:
- maintain professional boundaries at all times, specifically including safeguarding responsibilities
- report any suspicious circumstances or conditions relating to their passengers (e.g. bruising, unkempt appearance, persistent lateness)
- wear their identity badges at all times. When working with wheelchairs or passengers with challenging behaviour, it is advised that identity badges worn around the neck are removed and placed in a pocket; you may also consider exchanging the neck strap for a badge with a clip.
- be smart and tidy in appearance
- be polite and courteous to all passengers’ parents and carers, pupils travelling and other road users
- drive in a considerate manner at all times and avoid sharp braking, fast cornering and harsh acceleration which can be unnerving for passengers
- inform their employer and the DVLA If they have any medical condition that may affect their ability to drive (in accordance with the Road Traffic Act 1998)
- drivers are to present their driving licence to their manager every six months for checks
- High Visibility Vests should be readily available in the event of hazardous situations (loading or unloading passengers) or emergencies
The code of conduct applies to all passengers, but particular consideration should be given when transporting children and vulnerable adults.
If you have concerns or questions
Contact TSS if you have questions or concerns about safety.
Phone: 01270 371 485 or 01270 371 496