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Safeguarding on school buses be it private or state

Safeguarding on school buses be it private or state

3 Mar '2017 by Ash Mohanlal

How can we make the daily commute safer for children?

Winter nights are long and the days are short. The daily commute is unforgiving, and the school drop offs even worse. It seems that you go to school in the dark, and it can be dark on the way back too. UK has some of the worst reported Vitamin D deficiency as a nation.  It seems there is no way around it, and we just have to keep going, keep on going, as the song goes.

Travelling in a bike to school

 

Battling nature

The cold is what gets me, when I’m out. Combine the cold with the looming grey clouds, and the rain  if you’re really unlucky, to have a perfect trifecta of winter weather. Times this by ten, and we begin to get an inkling of what our kids go through every day. If only there is anything that we could do to make it a little bit warmer, safer, within our capacities, surely we should, right?

 

The Government and schools recommend being environmental and avoiding cars (plus, you can imagine the traffic jam). However, where is the alternative?

 

Is a school bus the answer?

One may think that school bus is the answer to the dilemma, and in a way it is. However, one of the main concerns that face parents of children who rides school buses are the lack of control they have in that they often wouldn’t know if any unauthorised personnel are in the bus with the children. In the recent years it has been unfortunate that the school bus has been dubbed a terrorist risk by many.  It doesn’t help that school buses from our own school days was a safety trap, with neither seatbelts nor registers.

Doing hand stands in the sun set to show you are happy

Before implementing school buses, be they private or state schools, you would need to:

 

  1. Set in place a process for pre-employment screening and interview protocols for new (and substitute) bus drivers.
  2. Consider their various training needs:
    • Do they need to know how to check bus units?
    • Do they need to be trained in student behaviour management and working with special needs students?
    • Do they need to be trained in emergency situations?
  3. Secure 2 way communications technology to enable you to be in touch at all times.
  4. Consider how the Buses can be marked clearly for police vehicles on land and air to identify the buses in the case of an emergency.
  5. Think about who will supervise the bus drivers, and their eligibility.
  6. Think about arranging regular meetings between the drivers and parents after the set up (not to mention the various meetings to be had before the bus system’s permissions are secured from the parents and authorities).
  7. Manage admin effectively and accurately, so that audit trails for any incidents and parental consent are stored, and are accessible (see Route-r admin reports).
  8. Finally, practise the decided emergency measures so that everyone is trained and prepared at any given moment.

 

So what does it take to make a school bus safe?

When considering the implementation of school bus(es) at a school, there are many things to consider from a safety point of view (as mentioned above). Short of equipping all the buses with CCTV like in Dubai (which would be cost inefficient for every parent and school here), OFEC has come up with a way to refocus the cost of admin into making the system as best as possible. The best thing about OFEC’s Route-r is how it allows the parents to take equal parts ownership of the system as the school. At any point, the school has a full list of who are on the bus at any given time. The parents can not only book their child on for a regular schedule or one off, they can see where their children are using map driven functionality. The driver would know that the right child is on the bus using scanned, and photo ID. Additionally, using GPS Satellite and Biometrics to our advantage is now within your grasp.

 

Bringing the community closer

This is a unique opportunity where the school can make a fully informed decision based on the input from the parents on which routes will work best, and the local residents’ collective knowledge can be tapped in when deciding on the bus stop locations and other logistics. This opportunity will also establish stronger ties with the local residents and the school, this allowing for future collaborations. Furthermore, all the abovementioned emergency plans, protocols and any travel updates can be communicated directly to the school and parents.

 

Understanding parents

A group of happy parents hugging when talking about school transport successes

Furthermore, the school bus system Route-r puts students’ safety at the forefront of all its features.

 

Route-r offers the parents:

  1. The flexibility to change bookings at the last minute.
  2. Freedom from the dreaded termly cash-in-envelope and paperwork that entails anything kid-related and an automated online payment plan.
  3. Enables alerts for when the bus is in traffic.
  4. Bookings allowed 24/7

The bus booking system is equipped with an intelligent renewal systems which can take automated bookings and update the system simultaneously. You can not only manage your bookings online using your account, but you can add siblings to the same account and manage bus journeys accordingly. Be it extra-curricular activities, or revision, Route-r can cover the schedule with the possibility of multiple journey functionality. You can enable the child to explore their talents, and nurture their skills.

Arranging school trips can be now a seamless experience as Route-r can be used as a register for tracking and managing children on a school visit.

Plus, the bus stops becoming a dark hole of all lost things (like the washing machine- seriously, where do my socks go?!). You can track the bus journey to grab it then and there, or get a lost property alert. Besides, we at OFEC have introduced it to a school, so it comes with a parental seal of approval!

Call Anita at OFEC today on 01865 556070 to discuss how we can make Route-r work for you- be it as a parent or as a school representative. We look forward to hearing from you!


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