What is the easiest way to enhance the speed and depth of learning?

Of course there can be many answers to such a question, but can be no doubt that when the day’s teaching and learning takes place outside the school, there is every chance that the students will take in and remember far more.

Which is of course one reason why we have minibuses. 

Sometimes the minibus is essential – for example to take students to an off-site venue that they regularly use, such as a swimming pool.

But sometimes quite often there is no direct and immediate need to go off-site, save for the fact that the learning that will take place off-site will normally be of a higher quality, because it is off-site.

As a result of this, many schools are now actively thinking of additional uses for their minibus rather than waiting for there to be situations which call for the necessity of a minibus. 

http://www.ukschooltrips.co.uk/ has a large number of school trip options listed as does http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk – on this site just write school trips in the search box.   There are of course many more such sites listed on Google.

It is also possible to find interesting school trips by getting in touch with schools near you, and asking the relevant head of department or co-ordinator if they would like to share information. There’s an index of schools on www.schools.co.uk

Of course all this activity depends very much on the minibus being well maintained and ready to use at all times. And as minibuses get older so the need for repairs can rise.

Quite often it is impossible to buy a new bus just because the old one is starting to show its age – but a way around this can be found with the leasing of a new bus – with the lease including full maintenance and servicing.

If you would like to see what models are available or further information on minibuses in general, do take a look at our website – www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

Alternatively give us a call on 01753 859 944.

Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street

School minibus risk assessment throws up a warning

If you go to Google and type in “School minibus risk assessment” you’ll come up with the inevitable 50,000 or more hits. 

If you are like me you’ll probably limit yourself to selecting a site from the first page of Google – which is exactly what I did, picking one website at random which offered a sample risk assessment for school minibuses.

And that is when I started to get worried, for a large number of these risk assessments require the driver or responsible person to ensure the roadworthiness of the vehicle prior to use.

Of course vehicles do have to be checked, but checking a vehicle that is (for example) over five years old takes a lot of time.

So if I were asked to sign to say I had checked a vehicle to make sure it is fully compliant with school or LA rules I’d want to have my school and local authority give me some reassurance in return that the minibus was being fully maintained by experts, and was not so old that it was liable to develop some significant fault.

Now fortunately however there is a solution to this dilemma.  

This occurs where the minibus is leased from a company that includes maintenance and servicing, (including checking tyres, clutch, battery) included within the payments of the vehicle’s lease.

Indeed it was to overcome issues and difficulties such as that outlined in the risk assessment above that we introduced full maintenance as part of our minibus leasing.  Not only do the schools that use us get a new minibus, without having to use current capital to buy it, they also get our certification that the bus has been checked by qualified engineers.

If you would like to know more there is more information on our website.  Alternatively give us a call on 01753 859 944.

Survey reveals minibus time-bomb

A recent survey of school minibuses discovered that over half of the minibuses in use in the UK’s secondary schools are over 5 years old.

Obviously there is nothing wrong with having an older minibus – but we call this a “time bomb” because, as such vehicles get older, they are more and more likely to break down. 

Which means that in the coming year quite a number of schools are going to find that their prime source of student transport is out of action.

The breakdown of a school minibus is never a pleasant experience, not least because there is every chance that you won’t have a back-up service available.  As a result a school trip or visit will be cancelled, and that’s never good for the image of the school.

There is also the fact that as minibuses get older they need more attention, cost more to run and take up more time and money in maintenance fees.

Now we know from the survey that increasingly school minibuses are being used for regular journeys to other schools, colleges, swimming pools and the like. 

Which means that vehicles are not only on average older, but they are also being used more – all of which adds to the problem.

The simple solution (to buy a new minibus) is often an impossible option, since money is generally not available for such a purpose.

However, there is an alternative, which is to lease a minibus.  At present around 20% of school minibuses are leased – but the report shows that well over half of schools are now considering financing their next minibus via a lease.

What’s more, leasing still allows the school to have the school name and logo on the side of the bus – with a full range of models available.

If you would like to see what models are available, do take a look at our website – www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

One final bonus: not only does leasing overcome the question of funding, it also offers the opportunity of putting the maintenance with the leasing company – thus ensuring that the bus is fully serviced throughout the year and running at the highest safety standards.

If you would like more information please email us at Minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk or call us on 01753 859 944.

Should you be encouraging your colleagues to use the school minibus or glad when it stays in its parking bay?

For some school business managers, a week in which the school minibus is not used is a week in which nothing can go wrong with the school minibus.

And yet there are some business managers who are involved in actively encouraging more teachers to utilise the school minibus. 

But why should they do such a thing?

One reason is a recognition of the fact that learning that takes place outside the classroom tends to be deeper, and be retained for longer, than learning in the classroom.

Of course it is difficult to the point of impossible to do a full analysis of this proposition, but the fact remains that many of us can remember our school visits and trips undertaken as students, long after the memory of classroom lessons has faded.

However, in most schools there are always some teachers who become involved in learning outside the classroom while there are others who don’t.  Likewise in many schools there is no one actively promoting learning outside the classroom while in others there is a champion of the cause.

Such people recognise not only that learning outside the classroom is beneficial, but also recognise that if a school minibus is not being used all the time, then a valuable resource is being under-utilised.

In order to help schools make more use of the environment around them, a few years ago we introduced a leasing scheme for school minibuses.

This scheme meant that many schools have now been able to take on a minibus where they didn’t have one before. Others have replaced an aging minibus while some have introduced the lease minibus as a second vehicle to cope with growing demand.

If you are interested in providing your first minibus for the school, replacing an aging minibus, or adding an extra vehicle, I would be pleased to show you what models are available.

As a starting point please do take a look at our website – www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php

If you would like more information please email us at Minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk or call us on 01753 859 944.