The safety of the pupils and staff should always be absolute priority. If you are driving the minibus even if you volunteer you are legally responsible for its roadworthiness. If there are any defects found by a police officer you are responsible for points and possibly prosecutions.
It is also essential that you check the School minibus insurance documents for the following:
- The uses detailed on the Insurance document matches up with what the minibus is actually being used for.
- The total number of passengers is correct on the Insurance documents
- You fall within the driving restrictions imposed by the Underwriters.
It is always recommended that any driver is given proper training to drive the vehicle with at least the following:
- Familiarisation with the vehicle
- Vehicle checks to be carried out before each journey
- Procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency
- Looking after the passengers
- Securing disabled passengers wheelchairs, loading and unloading
A lot of educational authorities will provide certified driving qualifications for minibuses.
Section 19 requirements
Minibus and Community Bus Permits, these are issued to organisations to allow a charge for the carriage of passengers. The charge can only cover the running costs of the vehicle they cannot be made to make profit. School parents may also be charged to contribute towards the upkeep of the vehicle. The section 19 permit allows certain organisations, including schools to make a charge without the driver having to have a PCV (Cat D1 or D) entitlement, the school would also not need to comply with the full public service operators licence.
Teacher may be held personally liable if they drive a minibus without a permit if one is required.