Encouraging students to experience the great outdoors

don’t know about you, but many an hour of my childhood was spent playing in the local woods, making dens and having adventures.

Inevitably things have changed and for many children and teenagers, a trip to the woods is now just about non-existent.

It is to encourage students to get out of the classroom and into the great outdoors that the Woodland Trust have developed their Green Tree Schools Award.

6.500 schools are currently signed up for this free Award scheme. You can find more information on this by clicking here.

Obviously in order to visit woodlands you need a school minibus which is modern, safe, 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.

A new minibus for your school costs less than you may think

Many schools are finding that the most effective way of ensuring that their pupils are involved in educational visits is by having their own school minibus.

However, when you think of a minibus for your school, your first thought may well be that they are so expensive to the point of being unaffordable.

This is a common perception, however many schools are now finding that a new school minibus is possible, but not by buying them, instead they lease them.

Leasing means that the cost of the minibus is spread over time with fixed monthly costs, and can be accounted for in the budget. The PTA can still contribute by raising money to pay for the monthly payments, etc, but there is no longer that long, long wait for the capital to be accumulated.

What’s more, through the leasing arrangement there’s a second benefit, for all the maintenance of the minibus can be taken on by the leasing company, thus keeping the vehicle fully operational at all times.

Additionally, where school trips are paid for by contributions from parents and the PTA, it is possible to allocate a part of those payments towards the cost of the minibus.

In other cases the minibus can be funded through a small monthly deduction from the school’s allocated income.

Not only will a new minibus help the school to expand education beyond classroom activities but it will also be a statement to prospective parents about the breadth and scope of the school’s vision.

Benchmark Leasing specialises in the supply and maintenance of school minibuses and because of this we are able to offer very competitive prices.

If you are interested in the benefits of a minibus do call us on 01753 859944 or click here to see what we can offer.

What is the most effective way of showing parents your commitment to investing in the school?

For many secondary schools the minibus is mainly used for transport to various sports fixtures, but it can also be an extraordinarily powerful PR message.

When a new minibus arrives, this demonstrates to parents just how committed you are to investing in the school.

What’s more, the parents will also be impressed and appreciative when they realise that they no longer have to transport their children to sports fixtures or to trips in the local area, especially without the additional cost of hiring a coach.

Obviously you need a school minibus which is modern, safe and itself a positive advertisement for the school – which is why Benchmark focuses on leasing minibuses.

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.

A further benefit is the fact that a new minibus is far less likely to have problems – plus you have the option of having a professional undertake all the standard maintenance and servicing.

This effectively reduces the onus that is put on the person who is nominated in the school’s transport policy to look after the minibus. Indeed, it was to overcome issues and difficulties such as this that we introduced full maintenance as part of our minibus leasing.

Not only do the schools that use our service get a new minibus without having to use current capital to buy it, but they have the comfort of knowing that qualified engineers have kept it serviced and maintained.

You can find more information on our website or give us a call on 01753 859944.

What do schools consider to be the “must have” items that they take when carrying students in the school minibus?

When it comes to venturing out in the school minibus, your first thought, of course, will always be for the students you’ll have onboard.

The second thought may well be to ensure that you have a mobile phone on you that contains relevant numbers and contact details in case of an emergency.

But what else should you consider?

Research has been completed with schools to find out what they carry with them in their minibuses. And the results make interesting reading.

Some ensure that they have details of what to do in an emergency printed out on laminated card which is always kept in the bus.

Others stress that they ensure that the phone also carries a relevant phone number which can be called should the bus be taking longer than expected to make the journey home at the end of the day.

This can be very helpful where this number reaches a person in the school who can contact parents to alert them to any delay – and it also means that if there is a problem the teacher only has to make one call, knowing the school will relay on all the details.

Insurance policy details are also included by most schools in their selection of items to take, to cover the unlikely event of the minibus being involved in an accident.

Next came the high visibility coat (BS EN 471) and the warning triangle which, although not compulsory in the UK, is compulsory in some countries such as France.

Interestingly, in France the regulation is that one must be able to get the jacket and put it on without getting out of the vehicle. It might not be the law in England but it certainly is a notion that makes sense.

A variation on the triangle (the portable flashing beacon) was also mentioned by some schools in their answers, and many stressed the need for a working torch – and a pen and paper. Seemingly obvious but given that not everyone mentioned them, presumably they are not always carried in every minibus.

Of course, above all this is the fact that we always need to be assured that the bus is in full working order before the party sets out. This is part of the service that schools which lease their minibuses from Benchmark automatically get – and if we ever spot something missing from your “must have” list, we do let you know.

Should you be looking to purchase or lease a new minibus please do call us on 01753 859944.

Alternatively you can find more information on our website.