Every year the number of minibuses in schools increases, with virtually every school now possessing at least one minibus, and many schools now looking at getting their third or fourth bus.
But why is the national fleet of school minibuses growing at such a rate – and how are schools managing to finance such growth? This was one of the questions that the second National Survey of School Minibuses sought to discover and this is what we found.
So why is the number of school minibuses in the UK growing at such a rate?
The most commonly cited reason for getting an extra minibus is to enhance learning outside the classroom. With this now a compulsory part of the curriculum in Scotland, schools in the rest of the UK are following suit, not least because of widespread reports that this type of activity can enhance everything from exam grades to personal and social development.
Secondly many schools report that they derive huge benefits from having closer connections with other schools. Whether it is a case of playing competitive sports, joining a unified schools’ orchestra, or making use of specialist facilities that a neighbouring school has (be it a recording studio or top of the range D&T equipment), this interchange between schools is certainly growing.
Indeed such sharing of resources allows each school to make significant financial savings by sharing facilities and equipment – savings which themselves go some way towards paying for the extra minibus.
Third, it has become clear that some minibuses have in the past been underused because of their age and resultant unreliability. One only has to have one experience of a breakdown or failure to start, and then the old minibus tends to lie unused apart from for essential journeys. Given that the 2015 survey of school minibuses found that three out of four school minibuses on the road are over five years old, you can see the extent of the problem.
On the other hand a new minibus not only overcomes such problems, but it also makes a huge impact on parents – both those with children at the school and those contemplating sending children to the school.
Fourth, we have the increasing pupil population (which is estimated to reach 4.7 million in UK primary schools 3.3 million in UK secondary schools in the coming decade).
This is already presenting many schools with a logistical problem when it comes to offering learning outside the classroom experiences to their pupils.
With just one minibus, the opportunity to go on school trips will be very limited, and some pupils may never venture out of the school grounds at all. The availability of of a second minibus will become increasingly desirable.
And finally there is finance. In the past, schools have been more inclined to buy a minibus outright, and it is only recently that a totally different way of paying for a minibus has emerged.
The alternative approach, which avoids the need to make a large upfront payment, involves leasing the bus.
Benchmark Leasing are offering schools the option to lease a minibus, which has proven for many to be cheaper than buying a minibus outright or hiring a coach each time.
What’s more, Benchmark Leasing also offer a full maintenance programme, so no matter the outcome of the vehicle’s services and MOTs, the cost of repairs won’t affect the lease price.
For more information about leasing a minibus with Benchmark Leasing you can go to our website, call us on 01753 859944 or email email@example.com
Benchmark Leasing Ltd
11 High Street
Tel: 01753 859944