Safer drivers
through driver assessments
and training

Safer drivers and safer vehicles for safer schools

There is no bigger factor of minibus safety than driver proficiency; ensuring your drivers are not only trained but that training is regularly refreshed, assessed, and documented.


MiDAS or practical assessments

Whether drivers have D1 entitlement or not, they are required under a Section 19 Permit to undertake refresher training such as MiDAS or a Castle Assessment Day that includes practical driver assessments

As of 7th April 2021 we are no longer able to offer driver training, MiDAS or Castle Assessment days but they remain an important part of driver safety and a requirement of a Section 19 Permit.

Read more about MiDAS


Online Driver Assessment (CODA)

Recommended to be taken annually, online driver risk assessments allow you to evidence you are assessing your drivers regularly and keeping accurate records. Our online driver risk assessment programme not only gives you feedback on your drivers’ abilities but also offers additional online training.

Read more

D1 Entitlement

This is a category on your driving licence that permits you to legally drive vehicles of between 9 & 16 seats. If you passed your test BEFORE 1st January 1997, you’ll automatically have category D1 on your licence. For weight, this allows you to drive a minibus with a maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes or 4.25 with a passenger lift.

Section 19 Permit

If you are a school that has charitable status or is not-for-profit you can run your minibuses under a Section 19 Permit, avoiding the need for a professional Operator’s Licence. Section 19 Permits are £11 from the DVSA and are displayed like a tax disk on the front windscreen – you need one per vehicle.

Drivers must meet these conditions under a Section 19 Permit if they don’t have a D1 entitlement.

  • Must be over 21
  • they have held a full category B car licence for at least 2 years
  • they receive no payment or other consideration for driving other than out-of-pocket expenses
  • the vehicle has a maximum gross weight not exceeding 3.5 tonnes (4.25 tonnes including specialised equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers)
  • for drivers aged 70 or over, that they don’t have any medical conditions which would disqualify them from eligibility for a D1 licence
  • no trailer is being towed
  • where the driver’s licence only authorises the driving of vehicles with automatic transmission, that only a vehicle with automatic transmission is used
  • Drivers aged 70 or over who don’t meet the higher medical standards are not authorised to drive small buses. They can drive small vehicles being used under a permit, provided they have renewed their car licence.


Driver Minibus FAQs


D1 Driver Training

If you passed your driving test before January 1997 you will have inherited your D1 licence as part of that test. However, there is a big difference in driving a minibus full of passengers and driving a car; just because you’re legal doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe.

Please note that as of the 7th April Castle Minibus is no longer offering D1 driver training.

Online Minibus Compliance Course (MCC)

This is an online course that aims to educate those responsible for managing the minibuses and drivers on their legal obligations where minibuses are concerned. It also details how to maintain the highest safety standards and WHY this is important for the drivers themselves as well as the school.

Read more about the Online Minibus Compliance Course (MCC)