School Transport

Issues that Schools Should Consider in Relation to School Transport

Transport To and From School

The highest risks children face during their school life is when they are using the road, including when walking, cycling or travelling as a passenger to or from school. Although it is the parent's legal responsibility to ensure that their school age children regularly attend school, local authorities, schools and others work together in many ways to help children travel to and from school safely.

Walking

Many children walk to and from school. Younger children often do so accompanied by their parents or as part of a supervised 'walking bus'; older children do so alone or with friends. Broadly speaking, the key things to consider are related to the safety of the route, and to the children's traffic awareness and pedestrian skills.

Safety of the Route

  • Pavements and footways
  • Road Crossings (e.g. School Crossing Patrols, Zebra Crossings, Pelican/Puffin Crossings, etc.)
  • Traffic volumes and traffic speed
  • Safer routes projects
  • Road casualty history of the route

Children's Pedestrian Abilities

  • Practical Pedestrian Skills Training
  • Green Cross Code
  • Walking buses
  • Road Safety Education
  • High visibility garments or accessories

In cases where pupils are not eligible for free school transport because they live within walking distance of the school (2 or 3 miles depending on their age) but the parents argue that the route is not safe, the local authority should be able to conduct an assessment of the route.

Cycling

Increasingly, children cycle to school, either with their parents or as part of a group, or on their own. The key things to consider are related to the safety of the route, to the children's traffic awareness and cycling skills, and the condition of the bicycle and equipment, such as helmets.

Safety of the Route

  • Pavements and footways
  • Large, busy junctions
  • Cycle lanes and other facilities
  • Traffic volumes and traffic speed
  • Safer routes projects
  • Cycle Parking at the school
  • Road casualty history of the route

Children's Cycling Abilities

  • Practical Cyclist Training
  • Cycle to school projects
  • Road safety education

The Bicycle and Equipment

  • Roadworthiness of the bicycle, including lights and reflectors
  • Cycle parking at the school
  • Cycle helmets and storage for them at the school
  • High visibility garments or accessories

Car

Being taken to and from school in a car is very common. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that children are using appropriate child car restraints or seat belts, depending on their age and size. The traffic situation outside many schools at opening and closing times is chaotic. Issues for school to consider include:

  • Parking arrangements
  • Drop off/Pick up areas
  • Keep Clear Markings
  • Communicating with parents about how and when they pick up and drop off their children
  • Liaising with the local authority and/or police (if some parents driving behaviour is unacceptable)
  • Encouraging walking/cycling

Chartered Bus, Coach, Minibus

Where children are being carried on a bus, coach or minibus that has been specifically provided to transport them to and from school, there are many things to consider when choosing the transport provider, including:

  • The operator's qualifications and experience (are they a PCV Operator?)
  • Vehicle roadworthiness
  • Driver fitness, licensing, experience
  • Seats for every passenger
  • Seat belts and child restraints
  • Special needs passengers
  • Escorts/Passenger Assistants
  • Passenger behaviour (rules/advice)
  • Drop off/Pick up areas
  • Emergency procedures

Reducing unintentional injuries on the roads among children and young people under 25 years - This document provides a 5 year trend analysis of injuries involving young people under 25 for 2012-16, based on police and hospital unintentional injury data. It sets out the evidence for preventative action.

For other downloadable road safety resources for schools go to the Department for Transport Road Safety website.


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