What exactly does the law say about who can, and who can’t drive a school minibus?

Once upon a time there was red tape. Then there was a government plan to get rid of all the red tape introduced by its predecessor.

Then there was more red tape.

Now, given this scenario, you might think that the issue of who can drive a minibus is complex and restricted. But…

But actually this is not really the case. You should be able to drive a minibus if you hold a car driving licence and follow certain conditions.

The first big issue to consider is hire and reward. Normally you can drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats using your current car driving licence as long as there’s no payment from or on behalf of the passengers.

So as long as parents or students are not paying specifically for the journey you should be ok and you can even drive a minibus in the UK and on temporary visits abroad (if the minibus has a calibrated tachograph).

Indeed even if you are making a charge to the students for travelling in the minibus you can still drive it providing you follow these conditions: you apply for a Minibus Permit, the driver is 21 or older, the vehicle can carry between 9 and 16 passengers, you’re driving it for a voluntary organisation that benefits the community (such as a school), the general public can’t use the minibus service, and any charges are to cover running costs and are made on a non-profit basis.

Of course this is only a summary and some additional regulations do apply here. For example, the driver must have had a full Driving Licence for at least 2 years, and the driving must be done on a voluntary basis – so it can’t be part of the terms and conditions of the job, nor can it result in additional payment by the school to the driver for undertaking the work.

All these conditions apply for a minibus up to a weight of not more than 3.5 tonnes (or 4.25 tonnes including specialist equipment for disabled passengers, eg a wheelchair ramp).

Oh yes, and you can’t tow a trailer.

Obviously this information is only intended as a guide and can’t be taken as a definitive list of do’s and don’ts. And it is always good to get approval from the governors, Local Authority or similar body if there is any doubt. There is more information on the Government’s own website on www.gov.uk/driving-a-minibus


What’s the simplest way of finding the funds to buy a school minibus?

To purchase a school minibus is expensive, and it may well be that the funds are not available to purchase a minibus outright.

So you may consider leasing a minibus.

The great benefit of leasing is that the purchase of the bus doesn’t come in one lump from school funds. Rather the bus is paid for as it is used by the school.

Through this arrangement we, as the company that leases out the minibus, also take over the maintenance of the minibus and thereby undertake to keep the vehicle fully operational at all times.

A minibus which is leased is simply paid for on a monthly basis, and some schools find it is possible to fund this without taking anything from the school’s capital account.

What’s more, not only do the schools that use our service get a new minibus without having to use current capital to buy it, but they also get our certification that the bus has been checked by qualified engineers.

If you would like to know more take a look at our website – www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php.

Alternatively email us at Minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk or call us on 01753 859 944.

Being dismissive of the world around them is very much part of growing up. But it is still important to make youngsters feel good about their school

Trying to get students to feel positive about their school and all that it does is a tough call. Easier with primary children, but tougher as they get older.

For a teenager, saying that school is “cool” (or whatever jargon word they have for that feeling this week) is just not on.

But tucked inside this common observation of the disaffection of youth there are two other factors to consider.

The first is the issue of rivalry. The second is the fact that despite their occasional displays of public disaffection, even teenagers can feel pride in their school and what it represents.
For the reality is that travelling in a modern, well equipped minibus does give students a buzz of extra excitement and pride.

And it is a pride that even teenagers will engage in, particularly when they visit a rival school for an event – knowing full well that the rival school does not have such a modern vehicle at their disposal.

Add in the school logo on the side of the bus, and the transformation is complete. There is a feeling that yes, this school really is ahead of the game.

And of course that is what leasing allows schools to be. Questions of pupil pride may not be top of the list when it comes to reasons for getting a new school minibus but it is just one more bonus, alongside the fact that safety is improved, breakdowns dramatically reduced, petrol consumption is reduced, etc.

For more information on our range of minibuses for schools, please call us on 01753 859 944.

Alternatively please take a look at our website.


From licences to tachographs, from towing to safety inspections, running a school minibus is complex. This free report answers all your questions.

For many schools the first concern about having a school minibus is the funding. However with the move to leasing a bus rather than trying to raise the cash for one ahead of a purchase, many more schools are now able to benefit from having their own vehicle.

But minibuses – like all vehicles on the road – are subject to licences, rules and regulations, and sometimes over time it is possible that one or two of these regulations can forgotten – very occasionally with serious consequences.

Of course, most of the rules are fairly obvious – and you won’t be surprised to read that yes, you do need a licence before you can drive a minibus.

But there are often questions such as, “is a car licence ok?” And, of course, this being the world of regulation the answer is, “that depends”. Not everyone with a car licence can drive a school minibus.

Then there is the “operating licence” which is different from the driving licence and the question of the law on seatbelts. Plus all the extra issues that arise if you take the bus abroad.

And more, and more…

In a recent informal survey we discovered that a substantial number of people who were responsible for the running of a school minibus were not fully au fait with all the regulations and could potentially be committing an offence.

So we thought we would try to be of help by producing, “Operating a Minibus – your responsibilities” which is available free of charge.

Of course. some of the regulations cover situations which are fairly obscure – but then in the course of school life, the obscure can occasionally happen – and it is never a bad idea to be fully aware of what the regulations say.

So if you would like a free copy, all you have to do is send an email to laura@schools.co.uk and we will forward you the report. There is no charge and no obligation.

And there’s a further bonus. On reading the report, if you find that the key question you need answered is not there, you can write in and we’ll do all that we can to find the answer for you. We’ll also put that answer in the next copy of the report – so you will be helping many other colleagues in schools across the country by drawing attention to the issue.

If you have any enquiries please do call 01753 859 944.

If you are interested in leasing or buying a minibus we have further information on our website at www.minibusleasing.co.uk/school-minibus.php