School Transport Safety Week highlights school run bullying

As part of School Transport Safety Week, which runs from 24-28 September, Kidscape, the anti-bullying charity, is working with BUSK to raise awareness of the risks children face on their journey to and from school.

The initiative is being supported by campaigner Paul Vodden, whose son, Ben, took his life while experiencing bullying on school buses in 2006. 

Bullying on the journey to and from school is a major concern for children and parents alike and is often seen to be harder to tackle as millions of children travel to and from school unsupervised, according to the campaign organisers.

The Vodden report, released in 2014, found that more than half of children had witnessed or experienced troubling incidents such as bullying and physical harm on school buses. The vast majority (78 per cent) of bus and coach drivers have received no training or advice in how to handle bullying, despite 67 per cent having witnessed bullying.

The aim of the newly-launched awareness week is to show parents, children and those who work with children how to stay safe on the school run.

BUSK provides CPC training to bus and coach drivers in ensuring safety on buses, and Kidscape offers direct support and advice to children and families affected by bullying.

“Bullying on the school run needs to be tackled properly,” says Pat Harris, BUSK director. “The new partnership between BUSK and Kidscape focuses on joint expertise and provides an ideal opportunity for schools and local authorities to work alongside us to ensure children in their care are protected.”

Lauren Seager-Smith, CEO, Kidscape, adds: “Bullying does not begin and end when the school bell rings. Many children experience or fear bullying as they travel to and from school, which is absolutely unacceptable.”