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To be absolutely boiling with rage over this?

(43 Posts)
CiderBomb Thu 05-Sep-13 16:50:24

I'm a school transport assistant, most people call us escorts though. I've recently been put on a run to a secondary school. It's a small mini bus that takes five kids to school. Two of the children, a brother and sister, are SEN and I'm their escort.

This morning we picked all of the children and dropped them off at school. Driver then drops me off a home and says "see you later". I'm supposed to be collected from my home at 2.45 to go and collect the kids, but I wait and wait, no sign of taxi. I phone the taxi company, no help, they blame traffic. I then look at the clock and panic because its gone 3pm and the kids come out at five past, so I ring the council. Woman at council agrees to chase taxi for me and find out what's going on.Bare in mind the brother and sister are absolutely not allowed to go in the taxi without me or another escort.

Eventually the woman from the council phones back at 3.30pm in a fluster to tell me that the brother and sister were not in school today and the taxi driver apparently phoned me to let me know this morning... Except they were in school, I bloody well picked them up and took them there, I even waved to their mum through the window! I say that maybe there is some confusion and they were collected by their mum at lunch time because they were unwell or had a doctors appointment or something and no one told me. But no, the taxi driver was adamant he'd not taken these kids to school this morning and he'd phoned me to tell me....

I'm so angry. The kids were in school this morning, I took them there, I'm being called a liar by someone obviously trying to cover their back because I think they just couldn't be bothered to come and get me (the driver has suggested that he doesn't think the kids need and escort and that its hassle coming for me). I'm angry because potentially two vulnerable kids who can't even fasten a seatbelt themselves have probably been taken home without me to keep an eye on them. I'm angry because I've missed out on an afternoon's pay...

Sorry, I know this is long. Would I be unreasonable to have it out with the driver tomorrow? If he picks me up of course? ;)

mycatlikestwiglets Thu 05-Sep-13 16:53:18

Of course YANBU, but please tell me you haven't dropped this for today. Have you contacted the school to let them know? Those poor children sad

cushtie335 Thu 05-Sep-13 16:54:47

I assume the Council pay for the taxi though? You'll have to speak to your line manager at the Council and explain all this. There's no point in "having it out with the driver". You need to explain to the Council exactly what happened and tell them that the driver needs to be taken off the job as he is unreliable and a liar and has put 2 vulnerable children at risk.

I can't understand why he considers it a "hassle". It's a fare he's agreed to take. If he doesn't want this particular run, he has to talk to his taxi firm and state a preference for another job.

stealthsquiggle Thu 05-Sep-13 16:57:45

Have you got contact details for their parents? Can you check that they got home ok? Also, parents might have been fed some story about the escort not turning up..

CiderBomb Thu 05-Sep-13 16:57:49

No I've definitely not dropped this. The woman at the council has sent an email to the taxi company stating that she will be very angry if the children went in a taxi today without an escort. It's possible that there has been some breakdown in communication, but I highly doubt it. I've been doing this job for three years and you'd be surprised at the porkies drivers and their managers will come out with to cover their backs when they mess up.

A school contract brings in a lot of money you see, and they often take on too many.

BellaVita Thu 05-Sep-13 17:00:35

This would come under our CPO. I would ring the school and explain and ask to speak to them.

NoComet Thu 05-Sep-13 17:01:04

Does the driver work for himself or a company?

If he works for a company, I would email the school and get them to confirm the children were in school, the forward that email to his company and who ever employs you at the local council.

I can't see you won't get paid, the council will only know you didn't do your job if the children's mother, or the school complain.

Our council transport dept. get very cross with buses trying to cut stops and vary their contracts. My guess is, when you get the right person, they won't be happy.

CiderBomb Thu 05-Sep-13 17:03:43

No Stealth I don't have the contact number for the parents. I only started the run on Monday and the council have said that they don't like us having the parents phone numbers. They like everything to go through them.

stealthsquiggle Thu 05-Sep-13 17:04:20

So does anyone know for sure that they got home ok? confused

NoComet Thu 05-Sep-13 17:05:51

Xpost. Yes, my DDs cause the bus an annoying extra five minutes, they'd love to get rid of us. The frighten DD2 saying they were going to stop coming here because they hadn't been on the bus.

They'd been ill for a whole 3 days!

CiderBomb Thu 05-Sep-13 17:06:24

Driver works for a company, one that I believed had a good reputation.

The woman at the council even gave me the correct children's names and their address when I spoke to her, so I know they've not got mixed up with another contract.

JessePinkmansBitch Thu 05-Sep-13 17:07:15

Surely though the school or council can contact the parents and they can tell them that yes the kids were in school and you indeed did pick them up this morning? Then the driver will look like an idiot and hopefully get into a lot of trouble?

YANBU btw. My dd is starting a special secondary school next year and will be picked up and dropped off. I'd be furious if something like this happened.

buss Thu 05-Sep-13 17:09:39

shock that's appalling!
so do you think he took them home by himself confused surely not?

CiderBomb Thu 05-Sep-13 17:12:09

Initially when I phoned the council the woman (who is one of the line managers BTW) inferred the children were still at school because they are not allowed to travel home without me. However when she phoned back she said they'd never been in at all!

The school are on the ball, if the taxi is more than a few minutes late they are on the phone to transport. I dropped them off at school this morning and watched them go in. They were definitely there, and I am convinced they were picked up at home time by the proper taxi, just not with me in it...

whattodoo Thu 05-Sep-13 17:15:05

Its probably too late now, but could you phone the school and check that the children have been picked up OK? (Although I imagine a million alarm bells would be going off by now if the children were still at school waiting for transport).

stealthsquiggle Thu 05-Sep-13 17:15:52

What gets me is that if it came from the driver then it's just such a stupid lie. He knows damned well that you took them to school - so why say they weren't in school confused?

nickelbabe Thu 05-Sep-13 17:17:03

but surely the school wouldn't them in the taxi without an escort?

CiderBomb Thu 05-Sep-13 17:19:08

Oh they would nickelbabe. We just wait outside the door and the kids jump in, no teachers around watching them.

cantspel Thu 05-Sep-13 17:19:42

Are you sure that the mum hadn't made arrangement to pick them up early as i am sure by now the mum would be creating merry hell if they were still not home.

CiderBomb Thu 05-Sep-13 17:27:33

That possible cantspel, and its what I first thought had happened. But if that's the case why did the driver say they'd not been in school at all? No one has phoned me today. I've checked my landline and mobile.

I'll have to wait to hear the drivers side of the story I suppose, however I'm sure he will try and bullshit his way out of it.

Lilicat1013 Thu 05-Sep-13 17:43:17

The mother should see they have come home without an escort, will she complain?

My son goes to preschool on a taxi with an escort. I would be shouting at someone if his escort wasn't in the taxi. We are lucky that both his escort and taxi driver are lovely and always do everything safely but if I had a concern I would definitely be calling Winchester and letting them know.

I hope you are able to get this sorted, the mother should be able to back up your side of the story. Do the children have sufficient communication skills to be able to say whether or not they had an escort with them?

Blu Thu 05-Sep-13 17:52:07

I don't think this is your responsibility to sort out directly with the driver. Whether the kids were in school is hardly a matter to be decided on the evidence of the taxi driver - the school and the mother will be able to verify that the children were in school.

Who is your employer? Is it the taxi / transport company? If so that is a little more difficult, but as it is a child protection issue I would write out a simple report of exactly what happened from your point of view, including the timings, and give it to your manager, copying in the school.

If this would compromise you, write your report, give it to your manager, tell your manager that if the children were collected without you it comprises a child protection issue, and say that you were waiting to be collected and chased the taxi driver, and that as such, you are due your pay for the day. Point out that it will be easy to verify with the school and parents that the children were in school.

LilRedWG Thu 05-Sep-13 17:54:54

Speak to the school tomorrow.Those poor children. sad

shockers Thu 05-Sep-13 17:55:42

Perhaps they weren't in for the afternoon and he forgot to tell you.

We have our DD's escort's mobile no and she has ours. Once, when we were stuck in traffic after an accident, we phoned her in a panic and she took DD home with her. When we arrived to pick her up, she had milk and biscuits and was doing a jigsaw with the escort and her husband (who is DD's back-up escort). I think DD wishes we were late more often!

Ezio Thu 05-Sep-13 17:58:24

There will be evidence on the register to say they were in class, and teachers and other staff can say when they went home, its not hard to find that out.

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