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Taking pupils out in the minibus

Although accidents are rare, this is one school activity in which children have been killed and injured. Do not cut any corners.

* Read the school minibus policy.

* Make sure you have the right licence, and that your age and driving record fit insurance and local authority requirements.

* If you haven't driven it before, take the empty mini-bus out for a run.

* Do all the daily checks on the log sheet. Try to leave time in case you need fuel.

* Load the children quietly and slowly. Check their names against your list, making sure thatthey all have written parental consent. Check that every seatbelt is fastened. Lay down the rules about behaviour.

* Don't allow bags and equipment in the gangway or by the doors.

* If there's another adult, ask him or her to sit where they can work the rear emergency doors.

* Do a final walk round and check all doors from the outside.

* Warn the children and then do a firm rolling brake check on the school drive.

* Observe speed limits. Don't be rushed by a tight timetable.

Gerald Haigh

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