Minibus information for schools

Driving licences

Managers, headteachers and responsible persons must ensure everyone reporting to them and required to drive, hold a valid driving licence, and that this is checked every six months and a record of the audit kept. Visit the national government page on minibus and trailer licensing regulations for UK nationals.

For EU residents, holders of valid licences issued by EU member states may drive in the UK until aged 70 or for 3 years after becoming resident whichever is the longer. Holders of Community licences with vocational entitlement (Categories C and D) must register their details with DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).

Non-EU staff must have licences valid in their 'home' country and can drive in the UK for 12 months only. After then, to continue driving, they must take a UK Statutory Driving Test (within the 12 months) after first applying for a Provisional Licence. You should encourage drivers to exchange their licence for a UK licence as soon as possible as it is often difficult to interpret the classifications of licences from non-EU Countries. Staff in this category may only drive vehicles with eight seats or less.

All non-UK staff should receive additional vocational training to ensure that they are sufficiently skilled and experienced to drive in the UK.

Minibus driver assessment training

When we insure a minibus, all drivers of it must have had their driving skills formally assessed within the past four years. The national recognised driving standard is the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS); after successfully completing it, a driver receives a certificate valid for four years. Several organisations provide this training. For advice contact:


Always check the following with your insurer that:

  • your organisation is listed on the Surrey County Council policy
  • the policy is current and has not lapsed
  • new replacements for older vehicles (now disposed of), have been registered
  • any minibus hire includes insurance – or if not you have made your own insurance arrangements
  • your driver(s) hold the right licence(s) to drive the vehicle(s)
  • your driver has enough experience to drive a particular vehicle
  • you know what limitations on the insurance there are if your driver(s) has penalty points.

Permits and vehicle excise licence

A vehicle must display a valid vehicle excise licence at all times.
For each minibus being used a section 19 minibus permit is required. Each one allows the legal operation of a minibus with more than eight passenger seats on a non-profit organisation.

Minibus maintenance

Pre-use: Before the minibus is used each day, it should be inspected to make sure all the obvious safety-critical items are in satisfactory and working order. A report book should record each inspection. Any repairs should be done before the vehicle is used.

Nil-defect reporting: there must be a system in place allowing drivers to formally report in writing any defect occurring with the vehicle on each journey. There must also be a system to ensure that these reports can be acted on.

Vehicle maintenance: your minibus must be regularly inspected and maintained by professional vehicle technicians. A planned maintenance schedule should be drawn up with a contractor.

Check out the national government's useful advice on maintaining vehicle roadworthiness.

Minibus road speed limiter fitment

Minibuses with more than eight seats will soon have to be fitted with speed limiters, which will restrict the vehicle's road speed to a maximum of 62 mph (100kph), although lower speed limits must still be adhered to. Contact your vehicle dealer for advice. To find your nearest approved speed limiter centre on GOV.UK.

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