As a result, improvements were made to strengthen our policies and we introduced nation-wide mandatory refresher training for the entire organisation.
All Goodstart buses now have three clearly designated roles in the new bus procedure: Driver, Supervisor and Checker. This means on every journey the Supervisor sits at the back of the bus for the entire trip and checks the bus is empty as they move to the front of the bus to exit.
The Checker meets the bus when it returns to the centre and double checks the roll and checks all children off as they leave the bus. This role also ensures the driver and supervisor are correctly following procedure.
Once the children are returned to the centre the Checker takes photographs to show the bus is empty and uploads them to iAuditor (which allows for remote auditing in real-time).
Alongside reviewing and improving bus policies and procedures, Goodstart undertook extensive research into bus safety best practice around the globe.
A technology sprint was quickly launched to see what other safety products and devices could be adopted to strengthen existing procedures.
We investigated thermal cameras, reverse autobrakes, route planners, sensor motions, sensor seats and seatbelts and rear button alarm deactivation.
From the initial investigations, Goodstart undertook pilot program with thermal cameras, iPad Roll Management and Seat Sensors.
Unfortunately, thermal cameras did not meet our needs as many of our journeys are of short duration, which doesn’t allow sufficient time for the cameras to operate.
IPad Roll Management is active in our Outside School Hours Care services and will soon be operating for all our early learning environments.
Our next trial is of Seat Sensors which are being installed for the pilot and testing will commence shortly.
The research and subsequent trials show that technology certainly holds promise but team vigilance and training are the key to best practice. We will continue to explore new technology to ensure our service is as safe as possible.
Goodstart’s purpose is to ensure all children are given the best start in life and we know our bus services are vital for many families whose children might otherwise not be able to access early learning.