- The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
- The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]
- The Public Finance Management Act, 1999 as amended by Government Gazette No. 38735 of 30 April 2015 (Act No 1 of 1999) [PFM]
- Regulations for Safety Measures at Public Schools (Government Gazette 22754, 12 October 2001 and 29376, 10 November 2006) [NR SMP]
- National Learner Transport Policy as published in Government Gazette No. 39314 of 23 October 2015 [NP LT]
- A Learner Transport Scheme is mainly a provincial matter and therefore principals should be aware of and consult the relevant provincial policy documents on this matter.
- The principal could also consult the nearest Traffic Departement for provincial and even municipal by-laws.
- Determination of Policy Relating to Scholar Transport [Reference B1 EC ST]
- Mpumalanga Department of Education: Scholar Transport Policy, 2012 [Reference B6 MP ST2012]
- Gauteng Learner Transport Policy [Reference B3 GP LTP]
School-managed transport schemes
- Schools that transport learners themselves, or organise any type of learner transport, must ensure that all the required transport regulations are complied with. Vehicles must also be checked regularly [at least every six months] for roadworthiness and safety. If the school is using an outside bus company, the Principal must annually obtain a certificate from the bus company that:
- the vehicles are in good condition;
- the driver holds a valid and appropriate license; and
- the transport company holds sufficient public liability insurance.
The checklist for checking busses and mini-buses prior to departure must be filled in by the supervising teacher or coach, who shall delay or prevent departure if he/she is not satisfied with the condition of the bus or of the driver.
A fully equipped first-aid kit should be available at all school or institution events, outings and tours, and should be kept on vehicles for the transport of learners to such events.
- A vehicle checklist should be compiled or obtained. Special attention should be given to tyres, brakes, brake lights, indicators, windscreen wipers, steering column, lights, the general condition and the permitted number of passengers.
- In the case of learners making use of public transport, schools must ensure that their learners get on and off the bus in a controlled manner by
- arranging supervision when learners get on and off the bus at the school
- appointing a senior learner as a bus prefect to supervise learners on the bus
- providing learners using learner transport with a code of conduct, and
- providing supervision for learners who have to wait for the bus in the afternoon.
- When learners or staff participate in activities as part of the school beyond normal school hours or off the school premises, their safety is still the responsibility of the school.
- Written consent for outings and other activities
- Schools must obtain a letter of consent from parents for their child to go on any outing or excursion. In the case of separated/divorced parents, only the parent with legal custody should sign the letter of consent. The letters of consent must be filed. Parents must be fully informed of the nature of the activity, any risks involved, the teacher(s) accompanying the learners, times of departure and return, and contact telephone numbers.
- A letter of consent is not to be confused with an indemnity form. The school may not take a learner on an outing or activity if the parent or guardian has refused or failed to give written permission and alternative arrangements need to be made for those learners. Indemnity forms only indemnify the school against claims from the parent for injuries to him/herself or his/her property. No parent can ever sign away his/her child’s right to claim against the school or individual persons. Indemnity forms which attempt to protect schools against such claims have no legal validity and failure or refusal by a parent to sign such a form cannot be used to refuse a child’s entry to the school or participation in any school activity or outing.
- Transport of learners in school buses bought or hired out of the school fund –
- When the SGB purchases a school bus for transporting learners, attention must be given to the insurance of passengers and the driver, indemnity, liability, roadworthiness and the public driving permits;
- The principal and Governing Body must work in conjunction with the company appointed to transport learners, in promoting good order, discipline and safety.
- Transport of learners in private vehicles
- Often learners are transported by educators and parents in private vehicles in connection with a school’s co-curricular programme. It is best to avoid this practice as far as possible because the issues of liability become very complex.
- When learners are transported privately the following should be taken into account:
- The principal must make sure that all drivers have a legal driver’s license.
- The vehicles must be roadworthy and properly licensed.
- The driver and the school must have proper liability insurance.
- All traffic regulations must be strictly obeyed.
- A learner should not be transported privately unless a letter of consent is received from the parent/guardian.