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Highfields School Bus

We plan to raise enough funds to buy a replacement school bus for Highfields in the 2023/2024 school year.  In total, we will need to raise around £45,000.

So far, the FFH has raised £16,200 through fundraising and £23,375 via donations. We only need to raise £425 to reach our £45,000 target!

£16,200 + £5,000 + £23,475 + £325 = £45,000

We have a school bus already, why do we need a new one?

The current Highfields school bus can only be driven by a person with a Certificate D1 licence.  Less than 5 school current staff hold D1 licences and these are mostly older and more senior staff.  Today, we want a school bus all teachers with a  full category B (car) driving licence can drive.  The current arrangement can frustrate the teachers and sports planners as senior staff must be scheduled to act as drivers.  More drivers means more away days, sports events and excursions for our children.

Why can't the teachers get Certificate D1 licences?

One of the reasons that most of the senior staff have Certificate D1 licences is that until 1997 the additional accreditation was included with a standard driving license.  This stopped after 1997.

Today, adding a Certificate D1 license costs some £2,000 per person with additional requirements for school use. Steps include a medical, theory test, driving course and practical test.  The time and financial investment in the Certificate D1 licence is very high for a small school like Highfields. 

What will the School do with the old bus?

The old school bus will be traded in when we purchase the new school bus.  Its value will go towards the overall purchase price of the school bus.  Mrs Lyons is currently having it valued, so we can confirm the contribution which will be deducted from the overall total target of £45,000.  We are hoping for £5,000+ as a trade-in value.

Which bus will Highfields buy?

We have conducted a market review and determined that an ideal choice would be a 17-seater bus that can be driven on a standard license with an S19 permit and weighing less than 3.5 T.   Several customized buses meet these criteria, including:

  • Peugeot Boxer Minibus Lite

  • Peugeot Boxer CanDrive Flexi

  • Citroen FlexiLite

We would also like a registration date from 2018 forward. A total budget of £45,000+ will enable us to purchase a bus of this specification.  

 

If we were to order a new bus instead of a used one, the base models start at £48,000 and the waiting periods are 6 - 18 months from order placement.  This is why we are fundraising for a used bus with low mileage.

Will the new bus seat more pupils?

No, the new bus will again seat a maximum of 16 passengers and 1 Driver as that is the maximum amount for it to be driven under a full category B (car) driving licence.

Can we keep both buses?

With the existing budgets, the school cannot prioritise the funds necessary to keep two buses on the road in terms of registration, maintenance and other costs.

What can we do to help make this happen?

We are just £24,400 short of our urgent goal to raise money for a new school bus. Your contribution, whether personal or from your business, would be a significant step towards achieving this. Remember, all business donations are eligible for tax deductions, and we are currently working with Gift Aid to maximise the value of personal contributions.

 

Option 1: Support our Bus Fundraiser by donating here: https://gofund.me/04ec0d7f

Option 2: Family Sponsorship of a Bus Seat - contact ffh@highfieldsschool.co.uk for further details

 

Please remember that many companies provide a matching donation for the personal contributions made by their employees. Before contributing to our GoFundMe program, please check if your company supports match funding; their support could double your personal donation!

Additionally, if you have any ideas to help us raise the remaining amount, we welcome your suggestions. 

Why does the GoFundMe page close on May 10 and not at the end of the school year?

Ideally, we want to release the funds raised to the school before the end of the school year.  This gives the school team enough time to find and buy the bus and have it cleared to meet school safety standards over the summer holidays.  The school hopes to have the bus ready for use from the first day of the first time for the  2024/2025 school year.

The GoFundMe donations can take up to 45 days to clear from their accounts to the FFH bank account. Closing the GoFundMe page on 10th May ensures all funds will be in the FFH bank account before the end of this term. If you would like to donate directly after May 10th, please get in touch with the FFH to arrange to transfer funds via your bank.

I thought we only needed to raise another £8,000, not £24,400?"

Initially, we hoped to find a bus that meets our criteria for only £28,000, which meant we needed to raise an additional £8,000 (assuming we raised another £5,000 via additional event fundraising) this school year.   However, as we researched our options, it became clear that the best choice for our sized school and staffing resources was a customised 17-seater from Peugeot or Citroen, which, after VAT, sells for between £38,000 and £52,000 depending on the vehicle specification.  Naturally, we want to purchase the best bus for teachers and children to use on their future school journeys.

Can we apply for grants to support our fundraising efforts for the new bus?

Yes, we can apply for grants to help raise funds for the new bus. However, there are very few, if any, grants available to Highfields as a fee-paying school that will consider part-funding the purchase of a school bus. 

 

Last year, the FFH won a grant that covered 50% of the cost of a defibrillator at the school, so applying for grants is very much a part of the FFH's active role. In that case, the defibrillator's value extended outside the school grounds and offered additional value to the community in case of an emergency. This is not the case for the school bus, and after extensive research and calling several potential grant programs, our requests for bus funding were rejected each time.  

Several proactive parents have pointed out the example of a minibus fundraiser supported by the National Lottery with a grant of £6,960 in 2012 as an opportunity for us to explore.  In this example, the recipient was a state school.  We contacted the National Lottery regarding a grant in 2023, and they explained to progress our application, we would need to demonstrate its value to the wider community, which we could not do.

 

The FFH will continue to apply for grants to support Highfields programs on a case-by-case basis.

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