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“Tell a teacher, driver, or parent”
The Code comes into force at the beginning of the school term in January next year and covers all modes of transport, including bus, train, walking and cycling for all learners aged 5 to 19.
Schools and local authorities will now have the power to take action against learners who misbehave on their way to and from school or college. The Code will be incorporated into all schools existing behaviour policies. Head teachers will now have a statutory right to take action against learners even if they are not on school premises.
Made possible by one of the first Assembly Measures, it sets out the standards of behaviour expected of children and young people when they are travelling from home to school or college.
The Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy and Transport said he wanted to give teachers, transport operators and young people time to get familiar with the standards set out in the Code. An all Wales awareness campaign will start in January to encourage children and young people to behave responsibly and will help head teachers, teachers, parents and transport operators understand their role and spread the message.
Mr Jones said:
“These newly acquired powers have given us an opportunity to produce an all encompassing code which will cover the various forms of school transport used every week across the nation, from roads to railways, and buses to bicycles.
“Close engagement with children and young people has played a very important part in developing the Code - their views and opinions have been listened to, and are reflected as such.
“This Code concentrates on positive messages around children and young people's rights, responsibilities and safety when travelling from home to school or college.”
Learners will be encouraged to “Tell a teacher, parent or driver” about any bad behaviour they see when travelling from home to school. Young learners should take responsibility for their own behaviour, leading to a safer school transport experience.
The Welsh Assembly Government has worked closely with teachers' unions, transport operators, police and local authorities to develop the guidance that will accompany the Code. This will be published in due course. The guidance will require closer working between schools, pupils, parents, transport operators and local authorities to ensure that any incident relating to learner travel is dealt with in the most appropriate manner.
Operators and drivers have a responsibility to report any incidents of poor, disruptive or unsafe behaviour to local authorities and/or schools. Mr Jones added:
“We appreciate the problems poor behaviour can have on bus drivers - we believe the Code, along with appropriate training for drivers, can have a positive impact on learner behaviour and make journeys safer for all.”