By Martin McKeogh, November 2022
In the normal run of a school term there are more journeys than most people realise. Trips to the church for practice, the local hall for rehearsals, the fire station, the matches, training for every sport and so on. In the not so distant past buses were more economically viable to hire and that may still be the cases for some schools. However in recent weeks we have received a number of queries where schools are asking teachers to use their own car or parents to volunteer.
Can a school allow a teacher or volunteer to use their own car for transporting pupils and will the school insurance cover them?
It is very important to know that the school insurance does not provide insurance cover for motor vehicles. The Road Traffic Act mandates that each motor vehicle on the road is legally required to have their own motor insurance cover. The responsibility for insurance lies with the driver, therefore the teacher/parent must ensure that their own vehicle insurance is adequate to transport pupils and they can only do that by engaging with their insurer/broker directly.
So does that mean the teacher and volunteers can’t be asked to transport pupils?
No. It means that the schools insurance policy does not provide any cover in relation to motor vehicles. If the teacher or volunteer can confirm they have adequate insurance in place, then purely from a motor insurance perspective, there will be cover in place.
Right, that means the school can allow teachers and volunteers use their cars then?
Yes but there are further responsibilities that the school must adhere to. If the school are allowing/requesting parents to volunteer then they are responsible to ensure that the volunteers continue to meet appropriate child safeguarding procedures. The school may need to ensure that each volunteer is adequately vetted and trained for the particular task as you would your staff members. The volunteers would need to understand what to do, and not to do, in the event of any behavioural issues when travelling. Furthermore the school would need to ensure that this is not a pick-up and drop-off service, as with all school trips it should start and end at the school.
This seems like a lot of effort for a few trips?
Yes that may well be the case but this is not simply an insurance requirement. The school has a moral and legal obligation to implement and adhere to child safeguarding procedures for all school activities.
If you have any questions in relation to the above please contact your local Allianz representative or our dedicated School support team on 01 6133966 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm). Calls may be recorded. If you are insured through an insurance intermediary please contact them for assistance.