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Minibus driving - anxious

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Progressnerd, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. Progressnerd

    Progressnerd Occasional commenter

    Hi

    I started at a new school earlier this month and the new staff were asked if they'd be trained up on the school minibus so they could offer trips etc for the kids.

    I'm a really anxious driver at times and especially with new vehicles/situations it takes me ages to get comfortable and confident.

    But I didn't want to say no when I've just started to I said yes. I spent an hour with a trained driver last week and found it really streasful - it didn't feel comfortable for me and I was really nervous.

    I'm now anxious about this - I don't know how often I'll be asked to actually drive or when but I don't think I'd feel comfortable taking pupils on a trip.

    Do I tell the management team how I feel? I don't want them to think I'm not willing to go the extra mile.
     
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I wouldn't want you driving my grandkids. Not feeling the way you do.

    Please say no. I think it's better for everyone. You need 2 adults. You can do the behaviour management. Not everyone is cut out for it. It's OK.
     
  3. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I have to agree - you may well not be a safe driver of a minibus. Tell the SLT you found the training very stressful and that you do not feel it would be wise for you to drive the minibus. No-one wants a crash...
    I have to admit that I deliberately never took a minibus test, since I did not want to be asked to drive people around constantly. It was never an issue when I was asked if I wanted to take it and said "No, not right now, thank you." Some people just don't do it. The end.
     
  4. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Yes, it's fine, you actually wouldn't be the first to voice such.
    Have you wondered why all the new staff have been asked to do this? The implication to me is that they don't already have enough drivers, for which there must be a reason.
    I can guarantee you there will be other staff who have felt the same way.
    Get in first, and go and speak to the person at the top of this request, and explain; as a newbie you'll gain respect for putting it to them that the kids'safety comes first. And offer the "solution" that perhaps things would change if you were to undergo additional training sessions.
    You could take them if offered, and who knows, it might indeed change the way you feel or it might not. But equally they could be happy to leave it at that. For every person who does not like driving (and there are plenty) there will be others who love to take to the road in anything they can get their hands on. The school will soon enough weed out such takers from the new staff, and you wont need to think about it again.
    I agree it's a good idea to suggest that you are always happy to go along on mini bussed events if staff are needed for ratios.
    There is nothing in your contract that obliges you to drive in any shape or form.
     
  5. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Just say no, you would find it too stressful and difficult.

    It's something I've firmly refused to undertake in every job I've been in.
     
  6. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Imagine how stressed you would be with noisy children in the minivan.
    They always had trouble getting Social Services staff to train to drive the Family Centre minibus. Union advice was not to do it. You can be held personally liable if anything goes wrong. Any incident s deemed to be your fault would affect insurance premiums on your own car.
    Withdraw immediately!
     
  7. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter


    Good advice.

    If a school wants to run a trip, employ a professional driver. (And I speak as someone who did run many trips in minibuses - but I wouldn't now as times have changed and teachers are often scapegoats).
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. mainscaler

    mainscaler New commenter

    You trained to be a teacher- not a professional driver. Like teaching, transporting other people's children is best left to the professionals.
     
  9. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    i wouldn't do it. Too much responsibility. Not just the driving but also the fact that the driver is responsible for the road worthiness of the vehicle.
     
  10. Progressnerd

    Progressnerd Occasional commenter

    I agree - just wish I hadn't said Yes in the first place! Going to have to just be honest and say I found it stressful and hope they understand
     
  11. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    There's no need to be apologetic and place yourself in a position where you feel that you now 'owe the' for somehow letting them down.
    Just say that you are fine driving a car and hadn't anticipated how different a minibus would be and you herewith withdraw from the training.
    Bedlam 3 is correct about the driver being responsible for the state of the vehicle too. You are supposed to check oil levels, water levels, tyre pressure, tyre teads, fuel levels etc before every journet. You also need to check that seat belts are not frayed and that the pupils wear them.
     
  12. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    You had a go. Didn’t refuse point blank. That’ll be appreciated. (I hope).

    Like you say, tell them it was too stressful.

    I drove the minibus for a while, but found it was on my mind for a day or so before the trip (away football games). It took my mind off the job I was paid to do - especially when it meant a drive across the city - and back during rush hour. And then you’d get parents having a go because you were 10 mins later than planned.
    Then a couple of hours marking.
    Don’t know why I did it in the first place.

    Probably because the kids wouldn’t have had a game otherwise.
     
  13. housesparrow

    housesparrow New commenter

  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Just go back to whoever asked and say no.
    It's not that difficult.

    About 3 out of 20 teachers/Tas in my school are trained to drive the larger minibuses and about 2 more are happy to drive the smaller ones where you don't need a special licence/test.

    Seriously, most people say no.
     
  15. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    Yep. Very good point.
     
  16. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    You said yes. You've tried your best but it hasn't worked out. Now say no.
     
  17. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Established commenter

    If you do not feel confident driving the school minibus, then don’t. Don’t let management insist that you have to do this, because at the end of the day this isn’t what you’re employed to do.
    As a HT myself, I would appreciate any colleague who was offered the opportunity to drive the school bus to voice their concerns before driving it. With our school bus, it’s only SLT or a member of the site team who is insured to drive the buses, no one else. It’s been a stern instruction in my school because, whilst I’m not saying I don’t trust the staff members that are qualified drivers, teachers and teaching assistants would need to supervise the children on trips, not be focussed on driving.
     
    grumpydogwoman and agathamorse like this.
  18. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    I have thoroughly enjoyed my minibus driving - but I have colleagues who simply won't do it, and they are dead right if they feel they lack confidence or whatever. I drive for them, they ride shotgun keeping the troops happy in the back.
    And whatever you do check your licence. The requirements are complex and if you passed your test on a car after I think 1997 your licence will not allow you to drive all minibuses. There's a thread on here about this. If you are over 70 (which I doubt!) you'll have lost your minibus entitlement unless you have taken steps to retain it.
     
  19. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    1 hour in the bus with another driver is insufficient. We always sent our volunteer drivers on the LA 2 day MIDAS course and they had the refresher/re-certification every 3 years.
     
    mothergoose2013 and jubilee like this.
  20. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I was l/c minibuses at my school and did all weekly and daily checks before school, recorded them in a log book. This, we were told, was sufficient although all drivers were expected to do a quick visual check before driving away and also a brake check on the school drive before going on the road (The brake check would also catch out those kids who had 'forgotten' to fasten their seatbelts)! The sort of place that let's every Tom dick and Harry drive after 1 hours experience does not sound like the sort of place that keeps the buses well maintained.
     

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