Page 16 - Independent Schools Magazine
P. 16

 A dedicated minibus compliance course is launched in response to the discovery of a shocking gap in knowledge
Chris Maynard, MD of Castle Minibus explains why he has developed and launched the MCC Minibus Compliance Course especially for school staff members.
 ‘In a recent survey of our existing school customers we were shocked to discover that over 60% didn’t know what a section 19 permit was. A section 19 permit is required
by not-for-pro t and schools with charitable status to enable them to run a minibus without a CPC commercial operators licence. It is essential that every minibus has and displays one. They are cheap at £11 and easy enough to obtain, but they do require certain administration and safety considerations to be completed, such as regular safety inspections and accurate record keeping etc. If a school doesn’t know about section 19 permits it
is unlikely they will know about their legal obligations when it comes to managing their minibus. Unfortunately, minibus management is just not seen as an area where formal training or education is needed.
If a teacher or member of staff is given additional responsibilities such as  rst aider or SEN co-ordinator they will receive training to ensure they understand what the role entails. As far as we can see school transport managers, or those members of staff given the responsibility of managing the minibus don’t have that kind of training or education available to them.
We are not talking about training to drive the minibus, we are talking about all the issues surrounding compliance that the DVSA can
check on at any time, unlike a private car the DVSA can stop a school minibus for no reason or perform spot checks within schools on its maintenance and management.
Change of recommendation
to 10-week checks
Our survey was completed whilst we called existing school clients to check they knew the government and Community Transport Association (CTA) had changed their recommendation that minibuses should receive safety inspections and maintenance checks by quali ed professionals every
10 weeks as opposed to the previous recommendation of 17.
“DVSA recommend that inspections are carried out at least every 10 weeks. You must ensure that a safety inspection is carried out before it’s used, if your vehicle is used very rarely.*”
More alarming perhaps than the 60% who had never heard of a section 19 permit, were the 70% who had no idea the checks were required at all.
Skipping over the safety checks
As Castle Minibus’ customer service guided schools through the application for the section 19 permit on the government website, they noticed that a recent change means question 20 on safety inspections is skipped over by any
school operating not for pro t/hire or reward – they are told to move onto question 21. So, even the application for a section 19 permit doesn’t make the safety inspection element clear. (Castle will be writing to the DVLA and select committee on this point).
Castle Minibus is a trusted advisor to schools and we are the champions of minibus safety and the MCC will give staff a clear understanding of responsibilities, procurement, legislation, training, maintenance, compliance and health and safety, including a practical minibus safety check and an introduction to Castle’s free School Transport Manager app that makes checks and reporting quick and simple.
The  rst compliance course will be held
in Bicester in April (already fully-booked), delivered by Castle’s advance driver trainers and ex-traf c police, but we are able to deliver the course to schools across the UK. We are
in the process of accreditation for the course from RoSPA and have already received the backing of several large school, safety and driver training associations such as the ISBA, IMTD (Institute of Master Tutors of Driving), Graham Feest Road Safety Consultancy and the MSA (Motor School Association of GB).’
For more information visit or call 01869 717569
* t-passenger-transport/section-19-and-22-permits-not-for-pro t-passenger-transport#annex-2---recommended-maintenance-arrangements
16 Transport, Trips & Travel

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