Ensuring the safety of your children
What are the legal obligations applicable to schools when making transport arrangements for school trips and visits abroad?
The law requires a school to provide a safe journey, whether it’s picking pupils up in the morning, going on trips or visiting abroad. Getting several quotes and picking the cheapest is definitely not demonstrating the correct culture and attitude to the safety of pupils in a school’s care – and this is where BUSK benchmark comes in.
An adequate written risk assessment that clearly identifies any risks to passengers and shows how potential risks will be reduced is crucial. Risk assessments do not have to be onerous and once completed should be re-visited once a year to re-assess standards. This specific risk assessment is not about the activity or purpose of the trip, but rather:
Every school should have a Transport Document that includes a Seat Belt Policy, clearly detailing how seat belt wearing will be enforced. Safety advice given to the school by the coach company must be taken seriously, with schools adhering to all aspects of seat belt legislation (contact BUSK Benchmark for clarification if needed).
Once on board one of our coaches, it is the driver that is in charge and not the teacher; it is a legal requirement that schools adhere to our safety rules and instructions.
What are the consequences for schools that do not fulfill a legal duty of care?
In 2006 Corporate Manslaughter Laws were amended to make it easier for courts to successfully prosecute transport companies, local authorities and schools who failed in their legal duty of care.
If death should occur as a result of not fulfilling this duty of care, the school’s management team could be found guilty of Corporate Manslaughter and face large fines. Courts can also order the school to advertise the fact they’ve been found responsible for a child’s death.
This information has been prepared by BUSK Benchmark and approved by Mike Imperato of New Law Solicitors. The advice given is no less than a court would ask and expect to see if legal action was taken, and court would expect the school’s governing body to have an audit trail defining transport arrangements and what method was selected when it came to hiring transport.
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