Producing an annual, or even a termly, school minibus report can have a huge benefit when it comes to ensuring that parents have and retain a positive image of the school.
Of course, everyone is interested in exam results and the musical and dramatic productions the parents come to see, and I would never argue that this should not be so. But I do think it is sad that no special attention is ever given to the school minibus.
But, you may ask, why should this be? After all, the minibus is just a vehicle. We don’t do an annual report on the goal posts that stand in the sports grounds or a review of what the interactive whiteboard has been used for. So why make the minibus special?
The answer comes from the fact that most parents are interested in things that make this school different from the next. Parents do want to be reassured that their children are attending the best school and getting the best education possible.
And for this, most parents can be more readily impressed by such events as learning outside the classroom rather than the everyday teaching and learning that takes place within the school buildings.
Hence the idea of the Minibus Report.
In its basic form the Minibus Report consists of a log of each journey that the bus has made. But this basic format can be extended to include something much more interesting – details of not just where the bus went and which group of pupils or students were taken, but also what they did and what they saw – and why they went in the first place.
Thus the hockey team will be recorded as going to the next town to play an away fixture, along with the result, a history group will have gone to visit an archaeological dig, the media studies class to visit the local radio station, the geography group to look at a rock formation…
Quite quickly such a list becomes much more interesting because it records what was seen and done, rather than the fact that the journey was made in the school minibus. And all the while the reader is reminded that this has all only been possible because there is a school minibus available.
Now this can be incredibly helpful if the school is raising regular money from the PTA or other sources to pay for the lease on the minibus. It allows everyone to see where the money is going as well as to admire the efforts made by the school to deliver education both inside and outside the classroom.
Of course it is also possible to have a Sports Pitches Report, recording each training session and each match played. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But the Minibus Report contains something extra – and if completed it is well worth making it available on the website and in the termly report to parents.