Setting the standards
How is First Student setting the standard?
We are committed to running services that are designed around students' needs.We see our service as part of the school day and look at each student as an individual.Our experience at First Student isthat our service better prepares students to begin their lessons upon arrivalat school. We have documented evidence of decrease in truancy. Our Yellow SchoolBus schemes experience substantially less problems with antisocial behaviourand vandalism than the more traditional school transport services. Travellingwith the same peer group can improve individual and group communication skillsand encourages students to develop a sense of independence from parents.
To ensure that each child experiences these education and social benefits on a daily basis, we have set standards by which we continually measure our service. And by working in partnership with schools, local authorities and parents we are continually seeking new ways to maximize student safety.
At First Student, we see the school bus driver as a very important part of our service. We choose the right driver for the position and ensure they are given the best tools to perform their job to the highest standard possible. All our drivers have CRB Enhanced Disclosure (DCS in Scotland), so we are as confident as can be that they are suitable for the role.
Only by setting stringent standards can we ensure the best people are chosen to look after students. Our drivers then undergo an intensive training programme, making them the most qualified school bus drivers on the road today.
Drivers are trained to look for potential bullying problems and what to do if bullying is suspected. Bullying is a serious problem in the UK and does not stop at the school gate. What better place than a contained moving vehicle? We take this threat seriously and our drivers will ask for help if they suspect this may be a problem.
First aid training means that, in the case of an emergency, each driver can administer the best possible care until professional help arrives. The first aid course is a certified course and is uniquely aimed at what to do when providing first aid treatment to children.
A supervisor is responsible for the day-to-day, smooth running of the First Student service. Information and timely communication is essential for peace of mind when addressing concerns of parents. Our Yellow School Bus supervisor is the contact person for any queries, comments or concerns. We encourage communication between the school, parent and local authorities to ensure the best quality service for the students.
All school bus drivers receive thorough training on how to evacuate a bus in all types of emergencies. Our training was developed alongside top airline evacuation consultants who understand the need for well understood vacuation procedures. In the unlikely event of an accident, each child will leave the bus in the safest and most efficient way possible. We also work with schools to provide evacuation training for the students in conjunction with emergency services when possible.
We know who should be getting on the bus at each stop. So if a child is missing, it is possible for our supervisor to contact the parent or guardian. We provide a morning and afternoon register, which can be handed in to the school contact person after each run. We will soon be looking to pilot smart card technology which can be linked directly into school register systems. This early warning system impacts greatly on truancy rates and delivers peace of mind.
All of our buses have CCTV installed. Our usage of the CCTV is in full compliance with the Data Protection Act (1998). CCTV acts not only as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour; if an issue arises or if a problem is suspected, we will contact the appropriate persons from the local authority and/or school to ensure the situation is dealt with sensitively but immediately.
Working in conjunction with the school, we can implement a dedicated seating system. We find this is most suitable for primary school level but in some instances it has also delivered benefits at senior level.
Every night we thoroughly check each vehicle and anything found is kept safe by the supervisor until morning. And because our drivers know each child on the bus, they can usually reunite the forgotten item with its rightful owner, often saving parents a fortune. Past discoveries include cellos, violins... and even a hamster!
First Student can provide escorts as and when necessary. Our escorts meet the same standards as our school bus drivers. They all have CRB Enhanced disclosure checks (DCS in Scotland) and participate in our training programme.
First Student routes are created around individual addresses, not the nearest bus stop. It is not always possible to pull up outside the door but as a rule, we try to get the bus to within five minutes walk of each home.
First Student school bus services are helping to ease congestion. With school runs accounting for 20% of morning traffic, the more people that hop-on-board with First Student, the clearer and safer our roads will be.
At First Student we are combating pollution levels by helping to reduce the number of cars on the road.
Schools that use the First Student school bus service can take advantage of hugely reduced inter-peak rates. So whether it’s a trip to the museum or a sports fixture, departments can save money and children benefit from a safe environment.