School bus conduct and safety
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Find out about any changes or disruptions to your school bus route.
Take young children to the bus stop at least 10 minutes before the bus arrives. Look after them until the bus arrives.
Young children should be met when the bus returns from school; youngsters are often excited and forget road safety as they get off the bus.
Remember you are responsible for the safety of your child at this time.
Teach your children the safety rules. Do they understand the rules for students?
Help the driver
Help bus drivers do their job. Remind children that playing about at bus stops and on the buses can cause accidents and injuries.
When children are alone
Make sure unaccompanied children know the safest route between home and bus stop. The shortest route may not be the safest. Be sure children know the best place to cross busy roads. Use school crossing patrols where provided.
If you normally meet your child(ren), ensure they know what to do in the event that you are not at the bus stop.
If bad weather prevents a school bus operating in the morning, no return service will operate in the afternoon, even if the weather improves.
Remind your children of the legal requirement to wear seat belts where fitted.
Find more school transport information.
If your bus breaks down or is involved in an accident:
- stay on the bus; only get off if it's not safe to stay on the bus
- follow the bus driver's advice; if there's likely to be a delay, the bus driver will normally phone for help
- don't make your own arrangements to get to school or home without contacting the school or your parents first
Follow these rules:
- have your bus pass available at all times
- beware of coats and bags catching in doors
- stay in your seat on the bus
- wear your seat belt where available
If the bus doesn't arrive, don't try to walk to school or accept a lift from someone you don't know. Your parent(s) will tell you what to do if this happens.
- play at the bus stop
- go near the bus wheels
- go near the bus until it has stopped
- go back to the bus after you get off
- cross the road near the bus
- eat or drink on the bus
- play silly games on the bus as this is dangerous and could cause the driver to have an accident
Make sure you:
- arrive at your bus stop at least 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time
- follow your parents’ instructions about where to go and what to do if the bus doesn't arrive within 15 minutes of the usual arrival time
- behave responsibly at all times when waiting for, getting on, travelling on or getting off a school bus. If you misbehave, you may be excluded from future travel
- stay in your seat when the bus is moving as the driver needs to concentrate
- always have your bus pass with you and show it to the driver when you get on the bus. Don't attempt to travel on buses other than the one on which you have been allocated a seat
- leave the bus clean and tidy
- wear seat belts where fitted and encourage younger children to wear them too
- wait until the bus stops before getting on or off
- cross in front of, or close behind a bus; you must be able to see clearly both ways
- distract the driver
- damage seats or seat belts in any way
- push or shove others on or near a moving bus
- bully other students or use foul and abusive language
- smoke on the bus; smoking is not allowed on any school buses
You may be responsible for the costs of any damage or vandalism to the vehicle.
If you miss your afternoon bus, go back to your school and report to the secretary or a teacher.
At the bus stop
Make sure you:
- approach each stop slowly and with care
- keep the doors closed until you have brought the bus to a complete standstill
- use the hazard warning lights when the bus is stationary
- check bus passes on every journey, using smart card reader if applicable
- tell children that you won't drive away until they're sitting in their seats
- remind children of the legal requirement to wear seat belts where fitted
- pay particular attention to nearside mirrors in case latecomers attempt to board
- make absolutely sure that all disembarked children are well clear of the bus before moving off, and that no children are dashing back for property they have left behind
- make sure that doors are properly closed before moving off, and that no coats or bags are caught in the mechanism of the door from inside or outside
- try to avoid reversing where children are waiting to board or have just left the bus. If you have to reverse on school premises, make sure the path is clear
On the bus
Make sure you:
- stop your vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so if there is any misbehaviour on the bus, and do not proceed until the misbehaviour stops
- never evict an unruly child between destinations
- report misbehaviour to the pupil’s headteacher: never say you are going to report misbehaviour and then fail to do so
- report any damage to vehicles or seat belts to the school concerned
- summon police assistance if necessary
- discourage children from crossing in front of the bus
- have the 'school bus' signs and route numbers displayed
Where you can help:
- make sure children understand the rules for using school transport and their importance
- remind children of the legal requirement to wear seatbelts where fitted
- appoint prefects or monitors to monitor the conduct of children travelling on school transport, if appropriate
- don't allow children to travel who have not been authorised by Dorset Travel
Bad behaviour on school buses cannot be tolerated as it endangers all the children using the vehicle. Schools will have their own disciplinary procedures, but where misbehaviour is persistent, parents should be reminded that the authority has the power to suspend any child from using school transport.
Contact Dorset County Council’s Senior Road Safety Officer who's always willing to discuss or advise on road safety issues.