back search


Minibuses for Schools

School Communications

Reference: SC004203

Date: 26 November 2008(Corrected 30 December 2008)

Title: School and community mini buses (D1 licences)

Sent to: All headteachers

Copied to: Sports Partnership Development Managers, Community Managers, Extended Schools Coordinators, Heads of PE

Phase: All schools

Status: Non-statutory

Action: For information

Deadline: Ongoing

From: Ian Beacham, Education Officer

Summary: This communication gives information to schools regarding the process for obtaining the D1 licence entitlement for those who passed their normal driving test after 1 January 1997.


As a result of legislation there is a significantly growing number of staff in schools unable to drive minibuses as they passed their normal driving test after 1 January 1997 and who, as a result, do not hold D1 licence entitlement. Although there are certain circumstances where D1 may not be required (see Schools Communication December 2007) most school minibuses fall outside the limits for the exemptions and D1 licence entitlement is therefore a legal requirement. The cost of training to pass the D1 driving test has been a barrier to many staff driving minibuses. This is not merely a restriction on school and youth sport but goes across the board to include a range of extended school activities, educational visits and the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. This is particularly affecting schools in rural areas, where in many cases they rely on mini buses in their out of hours programme.

The effect on schools and their extended programmes has been taken very seriously by the County Council and lobbying has taken place at the highest government level but currently this seem unlikely to impact on the legislation. As a result, Children's Services, in conjunction with other services within the County Council, have sought an affordable solution which will enable teachers and adults supporting learning \{ASL\} to take their D1 driving test. We continue to investigate how long term funding can be secured and are confident that a solution will be found. In the meantime, David Wright, Education Officer (Extended Schools), has agreed a funding package which will allow the scheme to start from the spring term 2009 and allow time for long term funding to be identified. Costs and responsibilities for this scheme will be shared by schools and the County Council in the following ways:


Schools: It is anticipated that the cost to schools for per trainee will be £265, although this will vary, particularly if mini buses can be sourced locally. The theory test £50, the medical can cost up to £80 and the provisional D1 licence £5.

County Council: The costs to the County Council per trainee will be in the region of £470 and will cover the cost of the instructors and the practical tests.

The process:

  1. School identify suitable candidates who will be able to impact on their extended schools programme by gaining a D1 licence
  2. Schools contact HTLC with an expression of interest which HTLC will note provisionally.
  3. Trainee obtains a provisional D1 licence, passes the medical and the theory test \{HTLC will advise on the sourcing of the materials/information for the theory test\}.
  4. School notifies HTLC that the necessary documentation is in place
  5. HTLC places trainee on the next available practical course and notifies school of dates/times.
  6. School arranges for the trainee and a suitable mini bus to be available.
  7. HTLC arranges for the instructor to visit the school to carry out the training and books the practical test - ratio of one instructor to two trainees (these trainees need not be from the school and therefore minibus cost can be shared between the two schools)

It should be noted that despite this support package and everyone's best efforts to help schools, the failure rate on the D1 practical test has, in the past, been high. The national average is only around a 40% pass rate. Working with colleagues in the Road Safety Team who will monitor the work of the instructors, we hope for a higher success rate. However, it needs to be recognised that a pass cannot be assured and additional costs will need to be met by the school if a trainee needs further training before re-taking the test.


For further information, contact:


Tel: 01962 844288


– quoting reference number HC011

In this section…