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School minibus leasing is becoming increasingly popular. There are many benefits to leasing, please take a look at our page What is a Minibus Lease? Minibuses are a valuable asset to those schools which are fortunate enough to own or have use of one.
They allow pupils access to the many benefits of out-of-school activities. Driving a minibus is not, however, a task to be undertaken lightly – the safety of pupils and staff should always be the first consideration.
Teachers cannot be required to drive a school minibus but if they volunteer to do so, they should take careful note of their responsibilities.
MINIBUS LEASING BEST BUYS
Your Account Manager with School Minibus Leasing
At MinibusLeasingUk you are given an Account Manager. This Account Manager will be your point of contact throughout the process. You can contact your Account Manager via their direct telephone line, email or mobile.
They are supported by a Director of the business and the operations team which is responsible for the ordering and delivery process. Your Account Manager’s role is to make sure your interaction with Minibus Leasing UK is as smooth and satisfactory as possible.
The Driver's Responsibilities
If you volunteer to drive a school minibus you are personally responsible for its roadworthiness. If any defects are found by the police, it is you who will be fined, points on your licence, or even prosecuted.
You would also be responsible for any road traffic offences committed. You should make sure that the minibus insurance policy covers:
- All the uses to which the minibus is put;
- The total number of passengers allowed and the total weight; and
- All the people allowed to drive the minibus.
Comprehensive cover is required to ensure that you are not liable for any damage which you may cause to the minibus itself, as well as to other vehicles.
Safety Checks on School Minibuses
If you drive a minibus you are personally responsible for any defects it may have while it is on the road. For this reason it is essential that there is a proper vehicle maintenance system in operation and that certain basic checks are made before each journey begins.
Unless you are absolutely confident that a designated member of staff has undertaken an adequate pre-drive check you should do it yourself. A sample checklist is available from Minibus Leasing UK.
The regular vehicle maintenance system should monitor more detailed mechanical matters. This includes tyre pressure, coolant level and brake fluid level, so that you can be confident that these are safe before you set off.
If there appear to be any faults which might affect the passengers’ safety, the vehicle should not be used until the faults are remedied.
Permit requirements for School Minibuses
Minibus and Community Bus Permits (Section 19 permits) are issued to organisations concerned with education, social welfare or other activities of benefit to the community.
They allow certain organisations, including schools, to make a charge without having to comply with the full public service vehicle operator requirements. They also mean there is no need for the driver to have a PCV (Category D1 or D) entitlement.
Schools must hold a Section 19 permit if minibus journeys are funded to any extent by outside sources such as parents or parent teacher associations. Section 19 permits can be obtained from your local Traffic Area Network Office.
Contact details for Traffic Area Network Offices can be found on the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency website: www.vosa.gov.uk. Teachers may be held personally liable if they drive a minibus without such a permit where one is required.
Only non-profit making charges, such as for the recovery of running costs including depreciation, may be made under a Section 19 permit.
The permit arrangements apply only in the UK. You cannot take a permit minibus abroad, if it is used for hire or reward, unless you hold either PCV D1 or D entitlement.
It should also be noted that when a minibus is taken abroad, a tachograph must be fitted and used throughout the journey and you must observe EC drivers’ hours regulations.
Travelling With Special Needs Pupils
Particular consideration needs to be given to minibus journeys involving pupils with special needs. The minibus itself must be suitable for the needs of all passengers, including those with disabilities.
As a general rule, it is recommended that journeys involving groups of special needs children should have a minimum of two staff, in addition to the driver. This should help ensure that the driver can drive safely,
without distraction. A risk assessment undertaken in advance of the trip will enable a decision on staffing levels to be made.
Minibus Leasing UK has many schools clients and we there have the experience to provide:
- Secondary School Minibus Leasing
- Primary School Minibus Leasing
- Independent School Minibus Leasing