Teaching staff taking children in their cars without a booster seat.

(39 Posts)
LadyLannister Fri 24-Jun-16 23:13:49

Wondered if any teachers/teaching assistants could answer a quick question for me? My dc's were taken on a trip with school yesterday, there were about 15 children in total split between 1 teacher and 2 teaching assistant's cars ( 2 of the cars were large people carriers ).
I was a bit surprised that they were to be taken in staff's cars but thought it would be fine as presumably they have some sort of insurance for this. The slip we received didn't mention anything about car seats though, so yesterday morning on dropping them off for the trip I asked a TA whether they needed my dc's booster seats - she looked a little uneasy but said 'no, it's fine'. I genuinely thought that surely they wouldn't take the children without booster seats ( only year 3's so most under 135cm ) so I left it at that. Dc's get home and say that they didn't have booster seats to sit on in the car.
So my question is; is this normal? Would your school allow you to take children in your car minus booster seats? Do you normally have to do some sort of risk assessment to take them out like this?
I'm just curious really, dh was annoyed and wanted to complain but I don't really want to complain about something that has already happened - it's just that I'd like to know the rules for if we're in this situation again. Thanks in advance.

dementedpixie Fri 24-Jun-16 23:23:05

Our children would never be taken in a car for a start. It's illegal to not use a proper child restraint for a planned journey so I wouldn't be happy either. Our trips are always by coach

dementedpixie Fri 24-Jun-16 23:25:52

www.childcarseats.org.uk/the-law/cars-taxis-private-hire-vehicles-vans-and-goods-vehicles/ - they are breaking the law in not using car seats if they are too short/underage

Portobelly Fri 24-Jun-16 23:28:50

Plus as its a work trip, would their normal car insurance be valid?

BackforGood Fri 24-Jun-16 23:33:54

Teachers can get business insurance for taking dc in their cars. However, there's no way it should be without booster seats if the dc are of a height to still need them. I don't know of any teachers who would do that.

Feenie Sat 25-Jun-16 00:58:34

Send a booster seat then.

Ditsy4 Sat 25-Jun-16 04:36:37

They should have a business insurance. I have had it in the past when I took a child riding. The HT has it and one other member of staff. All school trips must have a risk assessment done and have to be update ( if you take them to same trip a year later) and it includes travel to and from the venue.
Our school has two booster seats and some members of staff have them for their own children so they are borrowed if we need more. I work in a large primary so we use coaches but a few children go to short,local trips like representing school council at the local council buildings, cathedral, sports ( tennis) and occasionally trips home in an emergency situation. Booster seats are used if needed.
I hope this helps. If you are unhappy you could mention it to the Head or Chair or Parent Governor. It might be an oversight by the person doing the risk assessment and could be rectified for next year. I gather it is a small school. My children went to one and I was one of the parents who used to transport the kids to various venues.that wouldn't be allowed now.

LadyLannister Sat 25-Jun-16 07:27:22

Thanks for the replies. It's not a small school, it has 45 children per year group, so for this particular trip the year 3's have been split into 3 groups with my 2 dcs going in the second set - so they will take another 15 in a week or so.
It was a trip into town to the cathedral, probably about a 3 mile journey but I'm still not happy with them having been taken in a car for that distance without a booster seat. My 2 are pretty tall for their age but are still a few cms under the limit, most of the children are shorter than them, some considerably so.
I think I'm more annoyed with myself that I offered their booster seats and could tell that the TA looked a bit uncomfortable at the question but I didn't push the issue - because I thought that surely the school wouldn't risk transporting them without a car seat.
I will mention it to the teacher next week and hopefully they will make sure the next set of children have a booster to sit on.

SavoyCabbage Sat 25-Jun-16 07:37:02

My dd went in a parents car for a trip. I had no idea it was going to happen having just signed the firm in the ordinary way. I'd assumed they were going on a bus. We'd just moved back to the uk and I had no idea if it was normal or not.

downright Sat 25-Jun-16 07:43:35

I don't think this is good practice.

Aside from the insurance point and the car seat point already mentioned, it's also a safeguarding issue if the teacher is alone in the car with the children.

It shouldn't happen.

farmyard3 Sat 25-Jun-16 07:50:18

I work in a small primary school where for many trips the transport is shared between teachers, TA and parents.

I know that school staff who transport children have to have business insurance, but I am unsure about whether the parents have it.

All children who require boosters have to bring them and forms are sent out before. I did think it was weird when I first joined the school that parents were taking groups of children in their cars. I know it's highly unlikely anything could happen but parents aren't DBS checked or anything are they?! They could be anyone really

Strictly1 Sat 25-Jun-16 07:56:35

We do it otherwise they wouldn't go. But we always tell parents, we have the correct insurance, booster seats and the cars travel together so although in the car alone with children they are being followed led by another car from school. If one car is taken two staff go. This is to protect staff as much as children. We all drive like its our driving test as we have other people's children on board. I'd rather not do it but couldn't afford a coach which means children would miss out.

Strictly1 Sat 25-Jun-16 07:57:06

Apologies for the typos 😳

TTwidow Sat 25-Jun-16 07:59:59

Surely all parents volunteers in a school have to be DBS checked???
I would def mention your booster seat worry to teacher as they probably don't realise the new laws.

PrincessHairyMclary Sat 25-Jun-16 08:00:36

As others have said for a planned trip they should have the relevant child restraints. For an emergency they are ok without.

If you provide the school with a booster seat for use on a school trip they are obligated to use it by law regardless of if they are using a coach etc....my DDs school clearly didn't know this when they put her trunki booster pack under the coach!

Artandco Sat 25-Jun-16 08:03:05

Tt - they aren't checked at our school. For every school trip they ask for an extra 3-4 parents per class. Whoever wants to go, goes. Then they are left in charge of 3-4 children each for the day whilst on trip

Artandco Sat 25-Jun-16 08:04:12

Oh but they do have their own coach with booster seats in every seat. All children have to use them

downright Sat 25-Jun-16 08:06:16

My school wouldn't have an unchecked parent in sole charge of kids.

Anyone unchecked has to assist a checked person. Otherwise what is the point of the checks?

MsMermaid Sat 25-Jun-16 08:07:08

I work in a secondary school and even we have a couple of booster seats available in case we are driving short year 7s.

The law is hardly new, been around for 9years! The school should have a policy on transporting children, and I can't see a risk assessment making no mention of car safety, it wouldn't pass at my school.

admission Sat 25-Jun-16 23:14:43

There are all sorts of reasons why you need to complain about the safety arrangements for this trip. Firstly the need for booster seats should have been picked up when the risk assessment for the trip was carried out - so that was either inadequate or not done.
But the key problem is that even when the issue was pointed out to the TA, they did not apparently do anything about it.
That is simply not acceptable and the school need a serious review of what is happening on trips

irvineoneohone Sat 25-Jun-16 23:43:52

I just wondered. Even they are insured, and got into an accidents, does insurance company pay if the driver/school was breaking the law by not using booster seats?

jamdonut Sun 26-Jun-16 00:09:21

I always thought boosters only had to be used " if available" . Obviously you use them for your own children in the family car.

If staff didn't take children, the sports matches would never happen.

We have children ( mostly ' looked after') come to ,and leave, school by taxi and there are never booster seats.confused

dementedpixie Sun 26-Jun-16 00:15:48

No, boosters need to be used if the children are under 12 or under 135cm with few exceptions. Read the link I posted earlier as they are breaking the law. There are different laws for taxis btw

Ditsy4 Sun 26-Jun-16 07:11:48

It would cost a fortune to have DBS checks on all voluntary staff. No they don't but they are not left alone except in this situation. Schools would be careful about who was chosen though, so they might be Governors or very well known to the school and of course you leave together so are likely to be in sight of others.
When I was transporting( as a parent) we had to have fully comp insurance. With that size of class you think they would get a bus or mini bus they must be strapped for cash. We would use a bus and we haven't much money in the pot!

Artandco Sun 26-Jun-16 07:46:33

We are left alone if volunteering at the school. Dh was alone with ds1 and 3 other children on a recent trip to the zoo. I mean really he was in an entire zoo, but was told was take children around wherever and meet back at x spot at x time. They do trips like this monthly and nobody is 'checked'

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