When you send your kids off to school in the morning you are pretty certain how they are going to get there. If they are walking or cycling to school most responsible parents want to know their chosen route, and usually have walked that very route with their children helping them to navigate any difficulties.
But once your child is under the school’s jurisdiction you probably never know how they are getting to field trips or sporting events, you place your trust entirely in the school. The problem with this is that the school probably then passes the buck to the coach operator, and now the responsibility is getting even further away from the parent.
What are the Parent’s Responsibilities
At the end of the day the buck stops with the parents, it is your choice how you let your child get to school and your choice which school your child attends.
Of course you can have some recourse to the school if they choose an inappropriate travel company to move their pupils, but you should attend regular school / parents meetings to have your opinion heard.
Volunteer to sit on a school committee that gets involved with field trips and any trips outside the school premises. Most schools would love the extra resource and it has the added benefit that you are involving yourself more in your child’s growing up.
What are the School’s Responsibilities
The school has a duty of care to all their pupils, and this includes the transportation of the students for any reason whatsoever. The problem with the school handling this responsibility is that it can often fall to somebody like the school secretary who has no experience with group transportation companies.
These administrators are not travel agents and do not know the right questions to ask a coach or bus hire company to ensure the safety of the school children. They will probably not ask the relevant safety information they really need to.
The last problem is that the school budget often drives the end choice to select a transport operator, and that is never a good thing.
What are the Coach Operator’s Responsibilities
When a bus or coach operator takes the responsibility of a school charter they too have a duty of care towards the safety of the children whilst on their bus. Not only that, they have to ensure that their vehicle is fit for purpose, this includes proper maintenance schedules, and safety on board. But there is a grey area whilst the kids are on board the bus, who ensures their behaviour and makes certain they are seated with seatbelts fastened.
The driver surely cannot be held responsible as he is driving the vehicle and therefore this responsibility returns again to the school.
For the parent this is not good news as there is some confusion in key areas who is exactly looking after their children in transport. And they are not in the loop, normally the parent will have no idea who the coach operator is and will have no contact numbers.
The final issue on this subject is how can a parent contact their child when they are in transit, some parents issue their kids with mobile phones but if they have not this can be a real problem if an emergency crops up.
Some schools are now taking the option of utilizing software systems that can track and monitor school transportation. School Travel Manager is one such cloud based system, and it focuses on the safety of the children whilst they are in transit.
This system protects the children, school and transport operator by using an advanced swipe card system so everybody knows exactly where the children are whilst in transit.
To find out more about this comprehensive solution contact School Travel Manager and speak to one of our friendly advisors, they will be happy to arrange a demonstration.