Despite several accidents in recent years, including the death of Finlay Connor, who was run over by a coach outside Woodborough School two years ago, safety around coaches and school transport is often not taken seriously enough.
Later this month, Wiltshire will play host to the first BUSK national transport safety conference aimed at anyone with responsibility for providing transport arrangements for others.
Pat Harris, who founded BUSK, which campaigns for safety on buses and coaches, said: “There can be no more serious a responsibility than keeping children safe from harm.
“It will affect every one of us every day, personally, professionally, or both. Nobody takes this responsibility lightly but it’s a changing world and many of us are seriously challenged in these times of austerity to provide ever-increasing opportunities for our children in the face of ever diminishing resources and finances.
“What doesn’t change, however, is the fact that those who are responsible for the transportation of children will always have a legal duty of care to ensure a ‘safe journey’ is provided. What we believe to be suitable and sufficient and what might actually be required may be entirely different.”
The conference is being hosted by Arval UK in Swindon and will run on Monday, March 31 and Tuesday, April 1. Speakers will include a specialist solicitor and representatives of the emergency services.
On day one, guests will look at the consequences of a serious road traffic collision and focus on the perspective of both the coach operator and also those responsible for providing the journey. The conference will highlight the legal implications, moral dilemmas and practical challenges.
The second day looks at what goes on during the journey and how children can be better protected.
Pat said: “In particular, we will highlight the problem of bullying on the school run. The journey on the school bus tells its own story. The behaviour of children tells us a lot about them as individuals, perhaps about their parents, perhaps about the school they attend.”
Details are available from http://bit.ly/ 1fGR4JR or by calling (01633) 272944.