What's it like as an SEN Driver?

It’s the most rewarding type of bus driving you can do – taking children with Special Educational Needs to school and back. But what’s it really like?

A driver out on the road

The job

SEN transport involves collecting children from their homes or designated collection points, taking them safely to school for the start of the school day. It then involves collecting them again in the afternoon – and taking them safely home again.

Normally, SEN drivers are paired with a Passenger Assistant, whose role is to ensure children board and are seated safely on the vehicle – and are okay during the journey. The idea is that the Driver and Passenger assistant work as a team, supporting each other and their passengers.

SEN drivers work regular hours. It’s Monday to Friday, term time only. An early start to collect the children, a gap in the middle of the day, then the return journey into the late afternoon. It works out at about 20 hours a week during term time.

Making a difference

Our drivers tell us that they get a lot out of their roles, as they know how important and meaningful their work is. Children with SEN rely completely on the SEN transport service to get to school – and so do the parents. These are some of the most vulnerable children in our community, so our drivers know the real difference they are making to people’s lives.

A different routine

The hours of SEN driving work really well for many people. It suits PCV drivers whose life-commitments make the shift and weekend work of regular bus driving difficult. It’s particularly appealing to people seeking a work/life balance - those with children of school age, for example.

It’s also appealing for active retirees who aren’t quite ready to hang up their driving gloves. The shift pattern means there are four hours in the middle of the day for people to enjoy and pursue their interests. It is possible to do a second job, but we always ask that we’re the main role.

A great responsibility

Working with vulnerable children is a really responsible job – and it isn’t always easy. There is a wide spectrum of disabilities, some of which can be emotionally challenging to deal with – and sometimes the children’s behaviour can be complex or challenging too. Our best drivers combine patience and practicality with real empathy.

Working with parents/carers can have its moments too. It can be a hard road raising a child with complex needs, where you have to struggle to get the support you need – and that can’t help but come through at times, particularly if the service has been disrupted. Our best drivers have the communications skills and the empathy to build a rapport and a trust with hard-pressed parents.  

An area we take really seriously is safeguarding – which is all about protecting children from harm, abuse and mistreatment. It’s a formal set of responsibilities and processes designed to keep children safe. You’ll be trained in-depth on how this works and given ongoing support, so you’ll know the right things to do.

Is that for you?

If you want a bus driving job with regular hours where you make a real difference to your community every day, then SEN driving could be just what you’ve been looking for. Why not apply for a role today.