School Taxi left my children on doorstep

(245 Posts)
Pegasus11 Mon 04-Jul-16 17:14:22

I am a little shaken. I work but I have a normally reliable babysitter who meets my DS (5 and 7) from their school taxi. They are entitled to transport as they were sent to a non catchment school when we moved.

Today my babysitter called me at work at 1545 to say she wasn't at my house. Why she had not let me know if she was stuck in traffic sooner I don't know, but she didn't. I immediately called the taxi firm to ask them to hang onto my kids until I could get there/get someone to meet them.

The reply was that the children had been left on the doorstep and it was my responsibility to make sure there was someone there, not theirs to check the children got in. I know it is my responsibility to make sure there is someone there and I am very upset with the babysitter for not leetting me know sooner too. But the "safety valve" has to be that the taxi firm don't just release reception age children out of the taxi. It could happen if someone coming to collect children had a road accident or anything.

I am just relieved that nothing happened and that my kids are ok, and the taxi driver is a nice man. But it was heart in the mouth territory when the taxi lady calmly told me the kids were "out there" on their own and felt the need to share.

redhat Mon 04-Jul-16 17:15:48

Your babysitter is at fault IMO. The taxi is just the same as a school bus. You have to ensure there is someone ether to meet them and your babysitter is clearly not reliable or trustworthy.

Tiggeryoubastard Mon 04-Jul-16 17:18:54

It's not their responsibility to be ad hoc babysitters. They have commitments and the need to earn a living. It's not ideal but they're not the ones to blame here.

monkeywithacowface Mon 04-Jul-16 17:20:47

I would be fuming with the babysitter but although the taxi driver may not "technically" be responsible for your dc's I think it was poor form to just leave them.

Obviously you have to ensure someone is there to meet them but accidents and emergencies happen. What if the babysitter had been indoors but had collapsed for some reason? Common sense dictates you don't leave children that young on the doorstep.

It's my responsibility to be on time for school pick ups if I was ever late a teacher wouldn't just send them off on their own so I don't buy that the taxi driver doesn't have some sort of duty of care.

I would contact the council that contract the taxi company and make a complaint and then give your babysitter a kick up the backside

Pegasus11 Mon 04-Jul-16 17:21:48

Ok. It's obviously just me. The babysitter has never failed me before. I hired her through an agency, she's a qualified teacher. I am not laissez faire with arrangements. As I say, just glad the kids sat tight and are ok.

KittyLaRoux Mon 04-Jul-16 17:22:18

Sorry it isnt the taxi firms responsibility to care for your dc once they reach their destination. However anyone with an ounce of thought would bot have left such young children on the doorstep.

That said yoyr sitter is at fault and should have let you know sooner.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 04-Jul-16 17:22:57

Around here a driver would lose a contract for doing that. How ever they would have been fully expected to contact the LA and drive the chikdren to the nearest police station or social services office

CrazyDuchess Mon 04-Jul-16 17:24:23

I with the other posters here, your babysitter was at fault here. I am not sure how you can complain and possible end up with the driver being disciplined for something out of their control?

What is the taxis policy on children with no one to meet them?? I'd ask to see that first.

Goingtobeawesome Mon 04-Jul-16 17:24:40

Did you ask the taxi company what would happen if the baby sitter wasn't there? Does he see the children received by an adult?

insan1tyscartching Mon 04-Jul-16 17:25:29

Ds used to have a taxi from school (SEN) The LA policy was that if you weren't there to receive them they would call Children's Services. The taxis ds had used to watch that he had got in,i I imagine that if he hadn't he'd have alerted LA who would have called Children's Services.It's entirely the babysitter's fault IMO in your situation.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 04-Jul-16 17:27:56

I think it's perfectly possible to be cross with both the babysitter and the taxi company.

They were both at fault.

Glad all turned out OK op. You must have been frantic.

Pegasus11 Mon 04-Jul-16 17:27:56

Yes clearly the babysitter screwed right up and no mistake. I was just a little surprised the taxi driver would just leave them is all. I'm not planning a complaint or anything, as everything was fine in the end. Except a couple of years came off my life!!

livinginabox Mon 04-Jul-16 17:29:05

I would be very unhappy with that. The taxi should be taking responsibility for at least calling someone.

What if you had collapsed inside and they were just left out for hours?

monkeywithacowface Mon 04-Jul-16 17:29:41

Actually having looked into it further the council will have safeguarding procedures for this type of situation and the taxi driver hasn't followed them. See below for guidelines set out by our local council regarding school transport

" If the child is not met by the parent/carer or a designated adult, the driver will put through the letterbox an “Emergency Contact Card” stating they have called, and will continue with the journey so as not to cause concern to other pupils and parent/carers. Taxis drivers not accompanied by an escort will leave the card after the other children have been taken home. The driver will then return again to the address.

If there is no-one home on the second occasion, the emergency procedure for the protection of the child will then be activated and the designated person at the emergency address will be contacted. If accepted, the child will be taken to the notified emergency address.
If the child is not met by the parent/carer or a designated adult, the driver will put through the letterbox an “Emergency Contact Card” stating they have called, and will continue with the journey so as not to cause concern to other pupils and parent/carers. Taxis drivers not accompanied by an escort will leave the card after the other children have been taken home. The driver will then return again to the address.

If there is no-one home on the second occasion, the emergency procedure for the protection of the child will then be activated and the designated person at the emergency address will be contacted. If accepted, the child will be taken to the notified emergency address.

If the notified emergency address is not available, the School Travel Service will contact Social Care to make appropriate arrangements. Parents should be aware that these arrangements will be made under the Council’s Child Safeguarding Procedures."

KoalaDownUnder Mon 04-Jul-16 17:30:05

I don't understand the system of taxiing kids to school in the UK (doesn't happen here).

What is the arrangement? Are they special 'school run' taxis or just any available taxi driver?

When you start using the service, are you not told what the procedure is if there's nobody to meet the children?

Is the driver supposed to 'hand the children over' to someone?

Confused!

monkeywithacowface Mon 04-Jul-16 17:30:42

In your position I would take this much further

BackforGood Mon 04-Jul-16 17:31:40

I can understand your worry, but I agree, I'm sure it's pretty clear in the contract that a school taxi is the same as a bus - they just drop the dc at the appointed place.

Now's a good time to have the conversation with them...."If X is ever not there, what do you think would be a good thing to do?" and discuss options (kindly neighbour?)

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 04-Jul-16 17:31:41

The child across the street from me uses school transport. Last week I was on my way out and saw the vehicle pull up and when the driver knocked on the door nobody answered. He knocked again, then loaded child back in and made a call. Mum answered the door about a minute later.

That is what I would expect, not leaving a child/ren on the doorstep and driving away.

monkeywithacowface Mon 04-Jul-16 17:32:41

Koala often local councils will contract out these school runs to private taxi companies but there are still very clear guidelines they should have to follow

KoalaDownUnder Mon 04-Jul-16 17:32:43

Cross-posted with many others - still do what confused.

Fairuza Mon 04-Jul-16 17:32:44

I am really surprised that it is LA policy that their contract drivers just have to deliver children to an address, and not hand over to an adult - a school wouldn't get away with just releasing infant children at 3pm and locking the doors, assuming an adult is outside.

I would take it further personally. It's not ok to just leave a 5 year old on a doorstep.

KoalaDownUnder Mon 04-Jul-16 17:33:05

*somewhat

I give up!

Flowerfriday Mon 04-Jul-16 17:33:46

I'd be very unhappy with taxi company. What if you had an accident and don't get home or died in an accident.
Schools don't just kick them out of the gates. They should have contacted police or social services.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 04-Jul-16 17:34:49

I'd complain. What if it happens to someone else's child and they don't stay put?

FlowLikeAHarpoon Mon 04-Jul-16 17:35:30

Whilst the babysitter was 'at fault' in this situation, what if she had not been there for some reason that was not her fault (lying unconscious somewhere or whatever dramatic scenario one wants to imagine).

Under no circumstances it is okay for the taxi to have just left children with no adult. If I see a 7 year old and a 5 year old with no adult in sight, I ask if they are okay or something, because I am a vaguely responsible person; its got nothing to do with duties under a contract or anything like that. It's crappy to leave two little kids, not knowing where their adults are.

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