Outside school gate

Responsibility beyond the school gate

All schools are legally required to send pupils safely through the school gate each day. This is regardless of whether  a pupil is walking home, cycling, travelling  by taxi, minibus, bus or coach. A school cannot take the view that the safety of its pupils has nothing to do with it when a pupil is outside the school gate even if the pupil is a some distance away but has not yet reached home.

An example of a safety breach might be a school bus driver informing the school that each day the same pupil/s constantly run wild around the vehicle, distracting him/her. To wholly ignore a complaint of a safety breach from the driver could arguably be a  failure, by the school, to  discharge a duty of care.

The action a school could take is to advise the relevant body in writing about any safety breaches. This could be a local authority, a library board or a parent group. The school should request a written response within seven days of the measures the relevant body will take to reduce the risks to pupils, driver/s and all other road users. If a response is not forthcoming after seven days, the school should follow this up until it gets a satisfactory outcome. If the school contract home to school transport, they should write to every parent or carer that has a child using the service, advising them of the safety breach. Parents and carers should ensure their child understands the safety rules and also that they may have the service withdrawn if unacceptable behaviour continues. An audit trail of these measures is strongly advised to protect the school but also to maintain safer standards for pupils and drivers.