Risk Assessments

The Home to School Transport (HTST) Service provides transport for children and young people with special educational needs and or disabilities (SEND). We provide transport to a variety of school, and sometimes college settings.

We carry out a risk assessment for all children and young people using home to school transport. This makes sure travel arrangements are suitable. We do this before the child’s first journey.

We also take Vehicle Risk Assessments (VRAs). These assess the combination of children and young people travelling. They look at the medical needs and SEND profile of each child. Then we can see what support we need to provide to make sure the pupil mix is safe and manageable.

We carry out VRAs in vehicles with six or more pupils travelling. We also assess any routes we feel would benefit from additional attention. For example, pupils who need to travel alone due to their needs, or vehicles with combinations of children that could present at a higher risk.

All children and young people travelling have a Pupil Travel Information Form (PTIF). This is usually completed by parents and carers and sets out information on:

  • likes and dislikes
  • things that might upset a child or trigger a particular behaviour, how the child communicates
  • medical equipment
  • mobility aids
  • emergency medical plans (if relevant)
  • parent, carer or guardian contact information

Before travel, we make sure transport crews have the PTIF as well as other key information about the child or young person. This helps them to deliver a safe and comfortable journey.

In some instances, Vehicle Passenger Assistants (VPAs) will accompany children and young people due to their specific medical or SEND needs

Training for transport crews

Before taking a child to school we confirm that the crews have completed the following training modules:

  • Keeping Children Safe (Safeguarding)
  • Autism Awareness
  • Language & Communication Methods
  •  Introduction to Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)
  • Understanding & Supporting Children’s Behaviour
  • Epilepsy
  • Equalities
  • Understanding the Roles of Driver/Vehicle Passenger Assistant

There is also a refresher training module. Transport crews must complete this every three years.

1-1 or group webinars are also held with transport crews where required.

Checking that transport crews are suitable

Before transporting a child or young person the crew must pass an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. They must also pass a check against the Protection of Children Act list. This is a government scheme that enables us to check people’s past history. It helps us make safe recruitment decisions. It makes sure that anyone recruited to work on our service is suitable to work with children and young people. Drivers must have a check least every three years. We check drivers licensed to Brighton & Hove Licensing Authority every six months.

From September 2023 onwards, operators must get two references. They must make them available to the council upon request.

All transport crews must read our code of conduct. We also require crews to read our safeguarding measures 

Before the first day of transport, there must be a meeting between the child or young person and their parents’ carers and the transport crew. Ideally this will be an in-person meeting, and the operator will arrange this directly with the family.

Spot checks

We conduct unannounced ‘spot checks’ each term. This is to make sure placements both inside and outside of the city receive spot check visits.

During these visits the team check:

  • the transport crew’s ID
  • whether crews are wearing their high visibility jackets
  • for confirmation that their CCTV is functioning
  • if car seats, booster seats or harnesses are in good order
  • if the vehicle is clean and well ventilated
  • if crews know what to do in an emergency
  • the timings of arrival and departure 

All transport crews must be able to recite our 5-step emergency protocol. If a passenger has an epilepsy care plan, the staff must be aware of this and be able to refer to it in the event of a seizure.

This is also a great opportunity for us to be able to see the interactions between the crew and the children and young people.

We share the outcomes of these spot checks with parents’ carers and operators.

BHCC licensing colleagues also have spot-checks in collaboration with the HTST service. This is to check their own compliance criteria regarding the safety of vehicles.

Responses to incidents on board

We require all vehicles working in the HTST service to have CCTV with audio sound. This is so that there is footage if an incident arises or someone reports a concern.

All vehicles must have two-way communication. This so the driver can contact their operator and HTST if incidents regarding wellbeing or safety occur.

Drivers write all incidents down in an Incident Form. They send this to their operator and to Home to School Transport.

We investigate all incidents, with health and safety colleagues if required. We report the outcome of every incident to the Home to School Transport Governance Board. This will include any action taken to address the incident and prevent recurrence.

Medical emergency procedure

In the case of medical emergency, we instruct transport crews to:

  1. Stop the vehicle in a safe place
  2. Dial 999 and request an ambulance
  3. Follow the instructions Emergency services give you on the phone
  4. Record the time of the incident
  5. Inform the office and ask them to inform the parents/carers, the school and the HTST team

The only exception would be if the child is having an epileptic seizure and has an Epilepsy Care Plan. If so, transport crews should follow the guidance on the plan.

Find more information on our Home to School and Departmental Transport Incident Protocol page.

Assessment of school or college site safety

We encourage all schools and colleges to undertake their own risk assessments and site safety inspections. This helps with site safety during home to school transport pick up and drop off.

We visit new educational settings to discuss arrangements and safety precautions. This ensures a safe and well organised drop off and collection of home to school transport passengers.

All schools and colleges receive information about children and young people using the service. This includes the name of the child, the name of the route and emergency contact details.

Some schools and colleges have dedicated staff to supervise vehicle movements at the start and end of the day. We encourage all settings with a high number of children and young people using the service to do this.

Our expectation is that school site staff accompany children and  young people to and from their vehicles. This helps to minimise the risks outside of the vehicle. We expect drivers to remain with the vehicle, and any passengers who are still waiting to get off or who are already on board.

Appropriate school staff will assist children on and off the vehicle.

Parent and carer responsibilities

The child or young person remains under the parent or carers care and is their responsibility until the driver allows them in the vehicle. The same is true when they leave the transport upon return.

The parent or carer should also provide any physical help (also called manual handling) their child needs to get in and out of a vehicle. Crews are not permitted to lift or carry children in or out of the vehicle.

Parents or carers must confirm that any equipment a child travels with is fit for purpose. This includes booster seats, car seats or harnesses.

Find out more about how to provide safe transport for children and young people who use wheelchairs or harnesses.

Report concerns about a child’s safety

If you have any concerns about child safety on home to school transport, contact us.

You can: