If students regularly travel to and from your school by bus, you might like to establish a team of bus wardens. These are senior students who work with the school’s bus controller, bus drivers and the supervising teacher to monitor and supervise children’s behaviour on and around the school bus, to ensure they make their journeys safely.
You’ll need to discuss the idea with potential bus operators and the children’s parents or caregivers. Your school community officer can also give you advice.
5.1 SETTING UP A BUS WARDEN TEAM
If your school decides to set up a bus warden team, you need to:
- choose your bus wardens: responsible and reliable senior students who take their role seriously and will turn up on time
- get signed permission from their parents or caregivers (download a template letter)
- deliver a training session for the wardens; this training is mandatory for everyone on the team (see Training your school traffic safety team)
- choose a supervising teacher to whom the bus wardens will report
- establish your bus warden rosters according to the bus timetable and the students’ personal commitments, such as after-school sports
- consider first aid training for bus wardens.
The number of wardens on each bus will depend on the bus’s capacity.
You might need just one warden for a small bus, and two for larger vehicles.
Note: bus wardens don’t need to wear a uniform.
5.2 BUS WARDEN DUTIES
Bus wardens sit near the back of the bus so they have a clear view of all the children. If there are two wardens, the second warden sits close to the front door.
When on duty, bus wardens are responsible for ensuring that:
- children get on and off the bus in an orderly way
- all children stay seated while the bus is moving or, if there are not enough seats, stand well behind the driver or the appropriate marks on the bus floor
- the children stow all school bags and other items either under their seats or on their laps (or on the floor if they’re standing)
- aisles are kept clear unless children have to stand
- they note any misbehaviour and report it to the supervising teacher.
Wardens on after-school buses also need to:
- work with the school bus controller to ensure that students assemble in the agreed area
- take a headcount to check whether any children are missing (and why)
- check that the bus driver has been told of any passenger changes.
5.3 EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Bus wardens also need to be prepared to respond to an emergency on the bus. That means:
- knowing the locations of the emergency exits, fire extinguisher and first-aid kits
- calling for help if a cellphone is available
- understanding what to do in an emergency and, if one happens, helping the driver by:
– protecting the scene: sending older children 100−200 metres from the bus to warn approaching vehicles of the danger ahead
– taking uninjured children to a safe area and (if possible) asking an older student to supervise them
– establishing whether anyone has been injured and whether emergency services are needed
– sending two children to find a phone from which they can call emergency services and the school
– administering first aid if they can.