While pupils put pen to paper, your school’s external grounds are a relatively low-risk environment. But pick up and drop off times are a different story, with parent and staff cars, school buses and students on foot hitting your car parks, entrances and exits at the same time.

This pattern of activity presents schools with a key hazard: vehicle and pupil collision.

Assessing your site’s risks

Each school has a different layout and unique space constraints, so it’s down to you to rigorously evaluate your site’s transport patterns to identify issues and potential solutions.

Consider these key collision factors:

  • Parent, pupil and staff car movements
  • School bus drop off and collection
  • Visiting drivers who are unfamiliar with your site 
  • Reversing lorries and delivery vans

Tips on reducing dangers

a) Segregation

Vehicle movements should be segregated from pedestrians as far as possible by use of designated pupil, parent and staff parking bays, pedestrian walkways and crossing points, barriers, speed-reducing humps, adequate lighting and clearly signposted out-of-bounds areas for non-staff.

b) Site layout

Where possible, a one-way system should be introduced to reduce the need for reversing. When reversing is unavoidable, designated areas for reversing should be provided.

Carefully consider the timings of deliveries, when lorries are required to reverse into unloading areas – for example, when dropping food supplies to the kitchen. Deliveries should be restricted to quiet periods and reversing lorries should be guided only by trained staff.  

c) Visiting drivers

Clear signage should instruct visitors to park in designated areas, then report to your main office to sign in. For special events that require additional parking facilities, such as Sports Day, display car parking signage or train team members to direct visiting drivers to dedicated overflow areas, complete with clear exit directions.  

School buses and minibuses

Loading and unloading pupils on to school buses or minibuses should be supervised at all times and take place in a designated area, away from other vehicle movements. Engines should remain switched off until all students are safely seated or away from the vehicle.

All school vehicles should be in good repair with up-to-date MOT, servicing and insurance. All drivers should hold a clean, current licence for the category of vehicle to be driven. We recommend health surveillance questionnaires for all drivers to ascertain their fitness behind the wheel.  

Whether you operate stand-alone transport guidelines or they form part of your wider health and safety framework, your driving policy should cover rest break requirements, vehicle pre-use checks and general safe driving requirements.