In relation to a recent meeting with the Local Authority / SEN Transport, a few points regarding, home school transport and the schools, parents / carers, children and transport providers' roles were raised. The point of this letter is to make all parents and carers aware of these roles and procedures that are to be taken when events and incidents occur and to clarify our own position.
The clarity regarding transport and the advice given is as follows, that school, parents / carers and contractors as well as the Local Authority are in agreement that when:
- A pupil refuses to get on home / school transport It is the role of the parents / carers to ensure they guide their child to and from the transport. The escort should not leave the vehicle at any point. If pupils refuse to get on transport, then the transport will leave and continue their pick up route. It is then the responsibility of parents / carers to transport the pupil to school.
- A pupil causing problems on the transport (e.g. misbehaviour, whereby the safety of the child and other passengers is put at risk)This will not be tolerated. Procedures are set out for these instances which in turn can result in the removal of home school transport. With regard to Health and Safety; pupils who do not comply with regulations (such as wearing seat belts) will not be carried by the transport contractor on that specific journey. If this behaviour continues the provision of transport can be reviewed.
- Pupils who arrive at transport pick up points in a distressed or agitated stateThe drivers and escorts are entitled to refuse to transport the child, and responsibility to transport the pupil would then fall on the parents / carers.
- Any private arrangement between contractor and parents / carers
This is purely between the contractor and parents / carers and is no concern to the school; it is a private arrangement between two parties and should be covered in all instances by contractor's liability insurance.
- A pupil becomes violent on transport
Any pupil who is placed on transport by parents / carers then becomes the responsibility of the drivers and escorts who have 'locus parentis' whilst the child is in the vehicle. They therefore have a duty of care to ensure the safety of all children on that vehicle, as well as other road users. This means that if a child becomes violent, escorts have a duty to intervene, and also restrain that pupil, so that they do not harm themselves or others, and they must ensure that they use adequate restraint for this and they do not use over physical methods, to protect the child or others. All North View staff who act as escorts / guides are fully trained in restraint techniques needed in these situations under the school "Team Teach Programme" Escorts need the vehicle they are in fact responsible for them all.
This advice now clarifies the position of all concerned with regard to the home / school transport of your child.
If there are any problems with the agreed pointed, then please do not hesitate to contact Paul Tomlin at SEN transport on 0191 5612284 to discuss this matter further, the academy can provide you with a copy of the Home / School Transport policy if you would like further guidance.