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4-11 year olds travelling alone on Warwickshire School Buses, is this right?

(61 Posts)
hannagomm Sun 06-Jan-13 21:26:36

Chaperones, Bus Escorts or Passenger Travel Assistants PTA (whichever you call them) are being removed from Mainstream Primary school buses across Warwickshire, Warwickshire County Council have just told more parents that they are about to loose their PTA. Leaving drivers as the sole adult on the bus.

How can a driver drive the school bus carrying 4-11 year olds and supervise all the kids whilst driving? This is a crazy cut and the council is not making the savings either, Once school the saving is just £2.50 a day!

There are some parents that have a petition running on Warwickshire County Councils website to ask the council to change reinstate the passenger assistants.
Please help spread the message and sign/share this, it runs to the end of January 2013.

See press they are front page of the Nuneaton Tribune

They are also on Facebook AssistantsOnSchoolBuses

What are your views, is a child's safety worth this kind of risk?

admission Sun 06-Jan-13 22:15:03

The question that needs to be asked is at what point does the LA become the effective parent (in loco parentis), which the school does when the pupil actually goes into the school from the parent / carer of the child.
In this situation I would have thought that this is when the child gets on the bus, but it needs checking. If the LA still thinks it is when the child gets to the school, then there is a rather alarming gap, which should not be allowed to happen with children so young.
If the LA do think that they have in loco parentis as soon as the child gets on the bus then I suppose legally they have accepted the responsibility but it is putting one hell of a responsibility on the bus driver.

Bunnyjo Sun 06-Jan-13 22:17:58

DD is on a dedicated school bus and the only adult on board is the driver. In fact, in our very rural county, there are no extra adults on any school bus services, with the exception of the local special school(s). The kids are absolutely fine; they are all well behaved and are sat in their seats with full seatbelts on until they arrive at their stop. Many of the school buses have 40-50 children on board, DD's has 25-30.

I read the petition (I couldn't read the Nuneaton Tribute link as it wouldn't display) and I cannot understand why the driver needs an additional adult on board to ensure all children are seated and to drop off children at the correct bus stop.

In my limited experience of one school bus route/driver, I can honestly say that an additional adult wouldn't be necessary. I certainly do not agree that the absence of one puts my child at any kind of risk.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 06-Jan-13 22:21:35

Ds school minibuses do this from five. They all seem to get along ok. Am not sure what the big deal is really. The older ones supervise the younger ones and obv they all have proper seat belts.

Whojamaflip Sun 06-Jan-13 22:25:22

We're just over the border from you in Oxon and afaik theres never been an extra adult on the primary school bus - my dc have been travelling for the last 5 years through 3 changes of bus companies and its not even been mentioned - tbh it hadn't even crossed my mind that there should be another adult on board. It is a dedicated bus for one primary only if that makes a difference.

hazeyjane Sun 06-Jan-13 22:26:35

On the bus ( a service bus, rather than school bus) that the dd's catch to school, I am the only parent who goes with their children. It is only used by school children, and is nearly always full. I do think there should be an adult on the bus ( apart from me!) because some of the year r children that are on their own struggle to even get off the bus. I often end up escorting several children as well as my own, and sort out bags, get seat belts on and have paid fares before.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 06-Jan-13 22:29:18

Never had escorts on primary buses here. I went to primary school on a school bus with no escort. Not really sure why you think they're needed?

Parents see kids onto the bus, teachers meet at the other end. Kids sit down on the bus. Ime primary school kids don't mess around on the bus too much, the only one I knew that did was banned.

According to dd the secondary school bus is like a riot. The driver sometimes pulls over and screams at the kids!

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 06-Jan-13 22:31:40

I agree, the parents put them on then at the end the driver shepherds them all into school. Whats tricky about it? Ours are prepaid so no money involved.

LeeCoakley Sun 06-Jan-13 22:33:22

Another one here who has never come across a chaperone (apart from SN support). Although I think that if a driver feels that one is necessary then it should be considered. (I'm thinking of a few year 6 boys who used to run up and down the aisle).

hazeyjane Sun 06-Jan-13 22:37:18

On our bus, the children get off on their own and make their way up the road to school. They can pay cash, or have a pre paid ticket clipped, but loads of them lose their tickets (hence I keep a pocket of change, for kids who have lost their ticket). Most of the kids are fine, but there are a few who are tiny, who just struggle with seat belts and bags and getting off the bus and up to school. I don't mind helping them, but I hope the school might sort something out when I finally stop doing the bloody school run on the bus!

HollySheet Sun 06-Jan-13 22:37:43

Oh this is new! The minibus that supplies DS's school only has the driver. Is it only certain schools in Nuneaton that has this then?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 06-Jan-13 22:37:55

Lee, on ours if they are year 4 and over then they would get a misconduct of some kind for misbehaving on the bus and ultimately if they mucked about a lot then they wouldnt be allowed on the bus which parents would be really pissed off at.

The drivers are all school caretakers as well and the sort of older men you dont really play up iyswim.

AgentProvocateur Sun 06-Jan-13 22:42:30

Another one who can't see why they're needed. Here, it's common for school children to get on a service bus and get off at school safely. Or indeed a school bus. Your energies would be better spent drawing up a parental rota, if you think supervision is necessary.

LeeCoakley Sun 06-Jan-13 22:49:53

Well that sounds fair enough to me. Like you say, the parents would be the ones put out so hopefully they would stamp on any bad behaviour. I think our driver never complained offically, just moaned to other parents!

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Sun 06-Jan-13 22:50:23

4 and up on 56-seaters with just a driver here. the big ones look after them, and i've never heard tell of any mucking around. tbh the kids adore the drivers.

hels71 Mon 07-Jan-13 09:12:29

Children from reception up use our school buses(rural area) There is only the driver on board. Parents put children on the bus in the morning. They are dropped off at the school gate and walk to school on their own.
A member of staff sees them all on to the bus after school and checks all are fastened. PArents meet at the bus stop.
ANyone who messes about is reported to school by the driver. Children have been banned,

hazeyjane Mon 07-Jan-13 09:15:49

Our busdriver can't stand the children! Moans about them constantly, and the reason I am still catching the bloody bus with them, is because he shouted at the older one, because she couldn't get her seatbelt done up.

sarahtigh Mon 07-Jan-13 09:21:15

our rural area ( argyll) does not have anyone other than driver I am perfectly happy with that same bus for 4.5 -11 year olds

really can't see your problem

Startail Mon 07-Jan-13 09:23:29

No additional adults on our Primary or Secondary buses.

Never heard of such a thing except for special services for SN schools.

ProPerformer Mon 07-Jan-13 09:33:01

Ok, as a mum with no experience of this yet but whose DS will be taking the school bus in September when he starts school:
Without a chaperone, what would happen if the parent was not at the bus stop? It's a real worry for me as, having to take the train back from work and the timing literally being within 5 minutes of school bus drop off time and working in a school myself meaning I cant change working hours. I don't want my DS stranded at a bus stop on his own thanks very much! (I don't know any one else who's children will be at the same school as my DS so, certainly early on it wouldn't be a case of 'another mum can look after him.)
Surely having someone there to check the correct adult is picking up the child is a real H&S issue, yes the driver could do it but..... Hmmm.... (and I'm a right one to moan about how H&S for kids has gone too far but this worries me no end Abd is giving me sleepless nights already!)

MrsMiniversCharlady Mon 07-Jan-13 09:43:13

Our rural school bus service for primary school children very definitely needs an additional adult. I wouldn't send my children on it without one as the behaviour of a minority of children is bad enough that I think it would pose a real safety risk without a supervisor to control them. Why some of them haven't been removed from using the service I have no idea angry Naice middle class area too wink

hels71 Mon 07-Jan-13 09:49:56

ProPerfromer.................Around here that would be seen as your problem. If you were not going to be able to know you could meet your child from the bus then you would be expected to make some other kind of arrangement. (child minder collect from school for example) We have had the driver call school if a parent was not there and then return the child to school but they would not be happy about doing this on a regular basis. (They also would not leave a child on their own at the bus stop)

Bunnyjo Mon 07-Jan-13 10:12:40

Properformer - that would be seen as your problem where I live too, which, to be fair, it is. How would having a chaperone help in this instance? Would you expect the chaperone to wait at the bus stop whilst the driver continues along the route? Then what? The driver has to return for the chaperone at some point. What if other parents further along the route are late whilst the chaperone is still with your child? If you cannot guarantee being there on-time you would be expected to (and should, IMO) have a back-up plan to collect your DC - either a paid childminder, relative or other parent. The bus drivers here hand primary aged children to a recognised parent/relative/childminder, they do not leave the child alone.

MrsMiniversCharlady - if any child was badly behaved and posed a risk to the driver/rest of the children they would have their transport privileges removed here. In fact there was one whinging mother who went to the local press after her DS had his transport privileges removed for persistent bus vandalism (secondary school age, not primary) and there was no direct public bus route to get her DS to school. The LA said, quite rightly, that was not their problem and it was her responsibility to get her DS to school from now on.

ProPerformer Mon 07-Jan-13 10:42:06

Thanks for replies to my question so far.

Yes I realise it's my problem, - we have no relatives and don't really want to pay for a childminder we may not use! However I would have a 'backup' adult I could phone if my train was late. Round here the chaperones do the 'tick list' of kids and parents, And I know a mum I know has been questioned before as it was 'Dads' day for pick up when I went with her. (Different school from DS though) Around here, if a parent can't get to the bus stop they phone the chaperone/school so they are aware and can arrange drop off elsewhere/with someone else. I guess this could come over the driver's radio but.... Seems less secure to me, but I guess there is flaws to both!

Maybe will have to have DH leave work early on my working days and work from home in the evenings just to make sure of pickup!! GRRRR!
(Looks at the after school clubs for our top 3 schools, not that I can get to the school easily to pick up from them but, at least I'd have some leway.... Anxiety disorder and child on school bus is not a good combo! )

ProPerformer Mon 07-Jan-13 10:42:44

*no relatives who live locally!

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