Expecting Parents to Provide Transport to Sports Events within School Day

(101 Posts)
KnappShappeyShipwright Fri 21-Mar-14 16:13:22

DS1 is at junior school and has been selected to represent the school at tag rugby next week during the school day. I've just received a letter asking me to provide transport due to "health & safety regulations". I work full-time, my DH works full-time, we have no other family within a 100 mile radius and I'm not prepared to send him off with a random parent, particularly as I can never return the favour. The event is during the school day and finishes at "around" 5pm. I'm resisting emailing the school right now but I'm furious - I don't think it's up to parents to do this, is it? Any ideas on how I approach this as I've got all weekend to stew over it.

AuntieStella Fri 21-Mar-14 16:15:33

Well, my first enquiry would be to ask which health and safety regulation they mean and exactly what it stipulates.

OddBoots Fri 21-Mar-14 16:17:26

I'm guessing you would be allowed to withdraw him. If the school can't take him, you can't take him and you don't want another parent taking him then I don't think there's any other option.

For what it's worth that is quite common, I've had to take my children (and given lifts to others) to sporting, music and 'enrichment' activities during the school day as the school just can't afford the transport.

meditrina Fri 21-Mar-14 16:22:54

If the school has budget constraints, they ought to say so, not cite H&S.

Do they give any clue about what would happen if you cannot take him? Do you know which parents might be going, and are any among them ones whose cars/driving you trust? I wouldn't worry about never being able to return the exact favour on this one (especially if there is a friend's parent who you know going) as they will understand your constraints and you can extend a different form of goodwill to reciprocate.

jo164 Fri 21-Mar-14 16:30:04

Often without the goodwill of parents a lot of these events would not take place. Budgets for buses are pretty small in most schools and probably not top priority, however I can see that it is difficult if you work and are not able to transport your own child. We use parent support in this way on a regular basis. The drivers have to provide their licence details as well as prove that their car in taxed and insured appropriately. The school has an insurance policy to cover anyone's accident if using their car for a school journey if it were to occur. Parents sign a form to say that they are happy for their child to be transported by a member of staff or another parent based on the above information each time it occurs. If they don't want to agree to this, then unfortunately for the child we can't take them, and another child would be selected In their place. There is never any pressure on parents to take their turn at driving as we understand many people cannot reciprocate. If the number of children was large we would be able to book a coach, but weekly sports matches would simply not take place if everyone objected to this arrangement.

BackforGood Fri 21-Mar-14 16:30:18

If the tournament/match is during the day, then what else do you suggest?
IME, parents help each other out.
My dd2 played a lot of sport, and I frequently took children whose families were unable to - it's no biggie, I was going myself anyway, and had space in the car.
If you won't let him go with another parent, then it's you that's stopping him go, not the school.

TeenAndTween Fri 21-Mar-14 16:43:16

I don't work and would have no problem transporting an additional child or two if I were driving my own to a sports match (not that that will ever happen!). I wouldn't need it to be reciprocated.

On the flip side, I would be happy for my child to be driven by a named parent that I know, (but there are a few parents I would not be happy with as I'm not sure I would trust their driving)

Leeds2 Fri 21-Mar-14 16:46:15

It may be one of the teachers could take children whose parents aren't able to?

Heifer Fri 21-Mar-14 16:50:57

They probably don't have any other choice. It's good that the school are participating, as so many just don't bother. Do you know any of the other children parents (assume there is a team sheet). If not then you have to either tell the school he can't play or see if he can go with someone else.

cece Fri 21-Mar-14 16:52:20

Teachers are often not insured to transport pupils in their own car.

This is quite common practice. I am not sure why you do not know any of the other parents at the school? It is usually up to us parents to ask for lifts. The school tend not to get involved, although they will tell us who else is competing. (so we know who to ask...)

DS1 was in a similar tournament last week and one of the other parents took him. It was no biggie and the other parent didn't mind n the slightest. No need to reciprocate at all.

KnappShappeyShipwright Fri 21-Mar-14 17:03:46

Thanks for all the responses. I didn't realise it was common practice, he's my PFB which might be why I sound a bit over-protective. I don't know many parents here other than DS's best friends who aren't on the team list, we are fairly new to the area after moving with DH's job - it might be an opportunity for me to make some friends & turn it into something positive. I feel awkward about never being able to reciprocate but I guess there are other opportunities after school & at weekends. I don't want to be labelled as one of "those" parents who expects lifts for nothing in return!

haggisaggis Fri 21-Mar-14 17:08:20

My dc are at a small rural school and dc are either transported by parents or staff to events outwith the school. Hiring buses is too expensive for most things. I think parents who agree need to have the Scottish equivalent of a CRB check and fill a form out about their car insurance details. Staff have to have the appropriate car insurance. You can say if you don't want your child to be taken by a parent in which case the school will ensure he/she is transported by a staff member instead. As said by others, it is the only way for dc to attend things outside the school.

JodieGarberJacob Fri 21-Mar-14 17:10:33

Not sure why you're furious. Primary schools that have minibuses for this sort of thing are far and few between. Our schools either take the children on the train or rely on shared lifts by parents. What else is there? If you expect them to hire a coach each time for a handful of children then sadly they will decide it's not viable to participate in district events in the future.

Technical Fri 21-Mar-14 17:14:06

I don't know what they're on about re H&S but it's not unusual at all here. We do it to save the cost of booking a coach (which parents would be asked to pay for)

Where children's own parents can't either transport them themselves or arrange lifts, staff will take them. On the very rare occasion the school has to ask another parent, driving licences and insurance details are checked. Teachers are insured under their standard policies (where it's an occasional rather than regular occurrence) and the school keeps copies on file to check all in order.

90sthrowback Fri 21-Mar-14 17:23:29

Very normal for this to happen IME.

I know its not foolproof but at our school all helpers have to be DBS checked if they are to be alone with children.

mrz Fri 21-Mar-14 17:38:19

The H&S issue would be providing car seats etc

PatriciaHolm Fri 21-Mar-14 17:41:54

It's normal. Vast majority of schools won't have anything like a school minibus etc to do this with. It's entirely expected that people will car share; our school now tells parents who else is on the team to help them figure out who can take little johnny and his friends and who can pick up!

Don't worry about being labelled, people will understand, if you explain.

bigTillyMint Fri 21-Mar-14 17:44:55

I guess if you don't live in an area with frequent public transport links to and from the venue, then this makes sense.

How old is your DS?

MsMischief Fri 21-Mar-14 17:49:53

We get this a lot due to freakishly sporty child. It is a pita, especially as we live in a rural area so often the schools hosting the events are miles away. I have given other dcs lifts to things plenty of times when I've been able to and wouldn't expect a reciprocal lift. It's daft having a dozen parents driving up and down when 2 or 3 could manage it.

RufusTheReindeer Fri 21-Mar-14 18:00:45

Very normal and it wouldn't occur to me if I gave your child a lift that you owed me one

I have a seven seater and I'm convinced that's part of the reason my children did so much sports stuff (that and the fact that they volunteered for everything going!)

spanieleyes Fri 21-Mar-14 18:13:27

oh, we always pick our sports teams on the basis of the size of their Mum's car! grin

mostlysinging Fri 21-Mar-14 18:20:58

This is normal at my son's school - tends to be the same set of parents who are available to do lifts and we all load our cars up with as many as we can. I tend to request the children I know (along with their parents) as feel more comfy with this.

I've never expected that I was owed a favour when taking another child - just happy to help because I can.

BranchingOut Fri 21-Mar-14 18:28:01

I was once asked to take pupils somewhere at lunchtime when I was teaching, but did not agree as I just did not feel comfortable driving with other people's children on board. I also flagged up to the head that insurance was an issue...

BambooBear13 Fri 21-Mar-14 19:03:46

I would love to hear what the H&S issue was

mrz Fri 21-Mar-14 19:11:05

I would think it is the availability of car seats for those children needing them BB

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