Revised guidance from the Driver Vehicle Agency (DVA) now states that a D1 licence and a driver’s qualification will now be required to drive a school minibus.
Previously, teachers just needed a standard UK driving licence which automatically allowed them to drive a minibus.
BBC reported that prosecution and penalties are to be introduced as the Education Authority (EA) tighten the rules around school minibus driving rules in the UK. Some teachers who are driving minibuses may now be doing so illegally.
Cornmarket offer teachers free class 1 business use on policies, allowing teachers to be covered when transferring their pupils in their car.**
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*Based on new car insurance quotes given by Cornmarket Insurance Services to UK teachers in April 2017, for those who met acceptance criteria. **Class 1 Use excludes commercial use or hire, applicable with all Ageas teacher policies.
Finally, June has arrived and the school holidays are almost here. Did you know that school teachers’ average working hours range from around 55.2 hours right up to 63.3 hours per week? That’s why we think it’s important for our teacher customers to make the most of their summer breaks with some well-deserved downtime.
To inspire you, we’ve come up with some of our favourite road-trip destinations around the UK and Ireland.
Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
Stonehenge is one of the best-known prehistoric monuments in the world. It’s located in Wiltshire, England, 2 miles west of Amesbury. The attraction has a world-class exhibition and visitor centre. Although visitors can’t physically walk amongst the stones, they stand on the Salisbury Plain and the giant stones can be seen from miles around.
Although it is not known exactly why Stonehenge was built, there is widespread speculation as to why it was created. These ideas range from astronomy to ancient healing grounds.
Caledonian Canal, Inverness, Scotland
Source: By The original uploader was Flaxton at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by sevela.p., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3878047
The 62 mile (100 km) coast to coast canal is located from the northeast to the southwest of Scotland, and only one third is man-made (engineered by famous Scotsman Thomas Telford), the rest has been formed by Loch Dochfour, Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy.
The canal attracts over half a million visitors each year, with visitors enjoying walking, cycling and taking boat cruises.
Ring of Gullion, Northern Ireland
The Ring of Gullion is located in South Armagh in Northern Ireland. It’s an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which was the first ring dyke to be geographically mapped. Alongside this, it is surrounded by the Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Camlough Lake and the Cashel Lakes.
Norfolk Lavender Fields, England
Visit the world famous and picturesque Lavender Gardens and Lavender Oil Distillery in Norfolk. Around 100 acres of lavender fields with tea rooms, a restaurant and an on-site gift shop filled with creative lavender themed gifts.
Gaping Gill and Ingleborough Cave, England
Gaping Gill is one of the most famous caves in the Dales in Ingleborough, North Yorkshire. At 233ft deep, it retains the records for highest unbroken waterfall in England. Visitors are warned not to attempt to explore side passages without experienced guidance.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, North Coast of Northern Ireland
Put your fear of heights to the test by crossing the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The 30 metre high rope bridge is a great spot to take in the coastal views of the North Coast of Northern Ireland.
Developed by the National Trust, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is located close to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Experience nature in its wildest form at the Cliff of Moher. The cliffs are located at the South-western edge of County Clare in Ireland and are one of Irelands most visited tourist destinations. Not to mention, making appearances in several blockbuster films, such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and featured in music videos by Maroon 5 and Westlife.
Loch Awe, Scotland
One of the largest freshwater lochs in Scotland, with a surface area of 39 sq miles, Loch Awe contains several ruined castles on the islands, including Kilchurn Castle. It’s also the home of two hydroelectric projects.
Cornmarket have helped to keep teachers’ covered on their car insurance for over 20 years. Register for a quote today and we’ll call you when you are due.
* Based on new car insurance quotes given by Cornmarket Insurance Services to UK teachers in April 2017, for those who met acceptance criteria.
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Football is Northern Ireland’s most played sport and a large part of Northern Irish culture. Through the ‘Let them Play’ initiative, the Irish Football Association (the IFA) hope to empower boys and girls whatever their background or ability level, to develop a lifelong love for the game.
Tor Bank School launched the ‘Cornmarket Insurance Let Them Play FA Cup’ 2017 at the National Stadium at Windsor Park on Wednesday the 17th of May. The five-a-side tournament for schools cater for pupils with a Learning Disability.
The event will kick off this Friday the 19th of May from 11am-1.30pm at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex, Lisburn. Over 150 pupils will be in attendance from over Northern Ireland and the tournament is divided into two sections (11-14-year-olds and 15-19-year-olds). Cornmarket is delighted to be able to contribute to such an initiative which helps to provide an excellent opportunity for the community.
“The building blocks of this new Youth Football Strategy are every bit as important as the building blocks of the new National Football Stadium, if we are to create Northern Ireland teams who can compete on the world stage in the future and make our fans proud. It is an exciting time for the sport of football and there is untapped potential. By delivering the objectives set out the IFA will be doing all in its power to ensure it is creating compelling pathways to grow the game, and for all young people to get involved and stay involved in the game.”
Congratulations to our TWO new Brand Ambassadors Natalie Johnston and Rachel Morrow.
Natalie and Rachel have won the first ever joint CIS Brand Ambassador award for their role model behaviours and consistently strong performance.
Natalie and Rachel manage new business car insurance for our teacher customers in the UK, demonstrating high levels of ownership, excellent customer service and all whilst maintaining an exceptionally positive attitude.
Well done to you both.
Winter is coming…
From August 21st, GB Energy Supply increased gas and electricity prices by 7% and experts are saying that the Big Six suppliers (British Gas, EON, EDF, npower, Scottish Power and SSE), who supply 98% of Britain’s households with their energy, could be increasing bills as early as autumn.
We’ve researched a list of our top tips to save money whilst keeping warm in the home this winter:
Technology in the home
The Nest thermostat shows you just how much energy you use every day and allows you to adjust your home heating and your hot water tank while away from your house, using your phone. Its Auto-Away feature automatically turns itself down when nobody’s at home.
According to GRENUM, there are two key requirements to preventing heat loss/gain through a window covering: the material needs to be an insulator, and there must be no gaps around the edges as this will result in the air between the window and curtain escaping and setting up a convection current. An insulated curtain is usually comprised of three layers: face fabric, liner (bumph) and rubber-backed curtain lining.
A good money-saving tip to prevent unnecessary heat loss from radiators, according to Sophie Neuburg, energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth, is tinfoil. Aluminium foil behind the radiator can reflect heat back into the room, rather than losing it through the wall.
Double Glazed Windows
Double-glazed windows can prove incredibly energy-efficient. Alongside lower carbon footprint and lower energy bills, double-glazed windows also reduce condensation and act as great insulation against external noises.
Double-glazed windows consist of two sheets of glass with a small gap in between which is used to create an insulating barrier, keeping heat in.
Alongside offering privacy and light control, honeycomb blinds offer insulation from the cold winter winds. These types of shades have large channels which trap the air at the window. The R-value of a double-glazed window (the measurement of resistance of the shade to heat transfer) can double by just adding these cellular shades to a window.
Cover bare floorboards
Varnished wooden floors look great in a well decorated room, but according to the National Energy Foundation (NEF) can result in as much as 10% heat loss if they’re not insulated. Blankets and rugs can be used to cover floors and keep feet warm as an added bonus.
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Schools are back! Our top tips for creating a positive learning environment for the new school year ahead.
September has arrived, and whether you’re ready or not you’re back to school as you know it. To help and get your head in the game we are revisiting some top tips on creating a positive learning environment for the new school year ahead.
Learn from previous experiences
If you are to ask anyone to recall a story about a teacher from their school days, 9/10 times someone will recall a bad experience. Remember the time that your teacher made you feel less intelligent than you deserved? Build students confidence in their creativity and intelligence by rewarding good behaviour more than enforcing punishments for mistakes.
Encourage open networking
Team activities in the classroom are excellent opportunities to engage students with different personalities and cultures than their own social circles. Assign introverts with extroverts, and give shy personalities a chance to develop confidence. Find ways to channel an introvert’s idea through a more confident extrovert when during presentations in order to encourage confidence.
Keep lectures short
Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada to study brain activity, and results showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 (due to the backlash from technological advancements), to 8 seconds in 2015. Considering a fish has an average attention span of 9 seconds, it can be said that people now have an attention span of a goldfish. Keep students engaged with activities and open questions. Try not to let yourself go off on a whim, despite how much information your brain has managed to retain on the topic.
Learn from other teachers
Make a conscious effort to discuss with other teachers about their classroom experiences. Find out what works for them, and how they deal with stress and unsettling behaviour.
Make information relative
Use relatable examples when story telling. Compare main characters to people whom the audience already know, or can compare with. This will help students feel more involved, and therefore remember information easier when it comes to exam time.
Listen to your students
It is important to remember that not everyone’s brain works the same way. Whenever the opportunity arises and classroom discussions give insight into students’ lives, community and culture then learn as much as you can about your students. Try and always assume the best in all of your students and try not to pick favourites. A classroom where each student trusts the teacher can prove to be an excellent learning environment, so from the start, identify yourself and tell your students who you are and why you are there.
Cornmarket Teacher Scheme recognises teachers as responsible people, and therefore responsible drivers. The scheme offers improved teacher packages on Car, Home, Travel, Gap and Motorcycle insurance. Register your renewal date and telephone/email and we’ll get in touch with you for a quote when you’re due.
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Remember that you and your students are only human. You can plan, map, and research all summer, but once those kids get in the room anything can happen. You don’t have to have everything together on day one.” – Amy Hirzel
This blog has been approved by IAM RoadSmart. IAM Surety is the official insurance provider for IAM RoadSmart. IAM Surety is a trading brand of Cornmarket Insurance.
Technological advancements are constantly and dramatically changing how we live our lives. Moore’s Law states that the processing power of computers doubles every two years. Since that law was established in 1970, technology has revolutionised almost every aspect of our lives. Mobile devices are an extension of our very existence. How we communicate, behave and travel is now governed by smart technologies. There is no denying the profound impact this has had on our everyday lives. But what do these new technologies mean for driving and cars? In our latest blog, we delve into the best new technologies that can improve your driving experience and safety.
The hybrid, through propulsion technology, reduces the car’s carbon emissions. This benefits the consumer as they are lower in cost to run and kinder to the planet.
Although the hybrid car has been on the market for a number of years it has yet to crack the wider consumer market despite generous tax incentives. The clunky design of early models may have impeded sales to those more inclined towards exuding status and enjoying luxury. However, recent years have seen a great increase in the selection of hybrids and electric cars that range from the pragmatic to the sublime and everything in between.
We can look forward to sleeker designs and better performances with the likes of Bentley’s Bentayga and BMW’s i8 Spyder hitting the market. Efficient and stylish – what more could one ask for?
We don’t mean Kit or Lightning McQueen here! Interactive cars are in development and will offer the driver a way of communicating safely with other motorists. BMW and Mercedes are in the trial stages of implementing these technologies into their ranges. These super advanced cars will utilise NFC chips and SIM cards to communicate with each other and their surroundings resulting in an operating system that can recognise obstructions and dangers that the human eye can’t see. While it might sound tempting to have a car that takes anxiety out of driving, there is an argument that it could make us more complacent as drivers. What any such advancements will mean for the rules of the road is anyone’s guess – no doubt, a cause for intense discussion in the coming decades.
A car that senses danger and darkness. No, it’s not the Batmobile but Audi’s latest foray into the smart car sector. Gone are the days of the humble bulb. This technology utilises lasers to adapt to the light or darkness as needed in any given scenario. The main advantage for drivers is that they will adjust the ‘beam’ automatically when approaching oncoming traffic. Similarly other manufacturers have developed swivel lights that rotate and move in the socket allowing for greater precision when directing light beams. You might say the future is looking well and truly bright. (Sorry)
Any regular readers will know how vehemently opposed we are to the use of smart phones while driving. It is dangerous and illegal. Apple and Google have found a way to infiltrate one of the few app free spaces – the car. Android and iOS systems will be available for Volvo, Ford, VW and Vauxhall in 2016. Reviews have suggested that Apple is the leader in its usability but it is still early days for how these apps will impact driving and the driving experience.
Dials and knobs are out and hand gestures are in. Welcome the infrared camera. It will live on the rear view mirror and pick up certain hand movements connected to a series of functions. BMW has introduced this feature in their 7 Series. Their aim is to declutter the car and offer an easier and more ergonomic cabin in which to drive. The expectation is for dashboards to increasingly become touch screen, virtual and gesture based – likely impacting the aesthetic design of, and behaviour in, cars.
Google have been pioneering driverless cars for a couple of years now, with many of the major global car brands like Ford, Mercedes and Toyota indicating that this is the logical conclusion for the transport industry. No doubt next on the list is time travel. Enter DeLorean!
This blog as been approved by the IAM RoadSmart. IAM Surety is the official insurance provider for the IAM RoadSmart. IAM Surety is a trading brand of Cornmarket Insurance.
Driving, like any skill, improves with experience and practice and reversing is one skill that many drivers can find challenging. We have all found ourselves in a tight spot and grappled with the pressure of how to get out of it. The carpark where the only remaining space is crammed between two badly parked cars. Trying to find a space when you’re running late to pick the kids up. It can be a stressful few moments as you assess the right place to manoeuvre. Whether you’re a learner or an experienced driver, these handy tips can help you improve your reversing skills.
A car’s mirrors are a driver’s best friend, so remember to use them. When you are reversing do not forget to check each mirror during the manoeuvre. Look out for pedestrians, cyclists, other road users and street furniture, such as lamposts. Reversing around a corner can be particularly tricky, but utilizing the mirrors can guarantee a perfect manoeuvre. Align the left door handles with the curb in your wing mirror. If you keep them aligned you will sail around the corner like a pro.
Get to know your blind spot and do not forget to check it. The blind spot is the part of the road you cannot see easily with the mirrors. You have to actively turn and check your blind spot. If you experience difficulty seeing the road clearly get someone to guide you.
People are unpredictable and when reversing continue to look back and forth between the front and the back of the car. All of your attention can be consumed by the focus you put on moving the car, but be aware of other drivers. If possible reverse into driveways and drive out of them – this is far safer than backing into traffic.
Parking can be a nightmare and full of potential pitfalls. It can be hard to tell the size of a space and often with demand for parking spaces in busy areas we end up trying to fit into spaces that are not the right size for our car. As with driveways, we advise you to reverse into the space and drive out of it. Make sure there is enough space for passengers to get in and out of the car comfortably. In addition make sure other drivers have space to park in the surrounding spaces. Use the parking space lines to guide you into the space – it seems basic but how many times have you encountered a poorly parked car?
We use technology for everything – so why not use it to help yourself reverse and park. Intelligent parking systems come in-built in many new cars. Built in sensors at the front and rear of the car detect obstacle and emit warnings. More advanced versions also offer steering angles to assist the driver when reversing or parking. Dashboard cameras can also assist you in reversing and parking. Just don’t get too distracted by the gadgets and keep an eye on what you are actually doing… driving.
This blog as been approved by the IAM RoadSmart. IAM Surety is the official insurance provider for the IAM RoadSmart. IAM Surety is a trading brand of Cornmarket Insurance.
If you are driving a car with children as passengers you are responsible for their safety. It is reported that twelve children under the age of ten are killed or seriously injured as passengers in cars every year (source). Keeping a child safe includes good practices both inside and outside the car. It is vital that you know not just the legal requirements but also best practice.
We have outlined below the most important steps you can take to ensure your child’s safety:
Car Seats & Safety Belts
Drivers, the responsibility lands on you to make sure passengers under the age of 14 are appropriately restrained while in your vehicle. This includes everything from seat belts, car seats and booster seats. Children under the age of 12 years or under 135cm tall, whichever comes first, must sit in an EU approved child seat or booster seat.
The approved seats will be clearly labelled with a capital ‘E’ in a circle in the UK. It is recommended that you choose the car or booster seat based on your child’s height or weight. We advise seeking the assistance of a specialist to choose the one that suits you and your child’s needs. There are a wide variety of expert retailers who will help you find the right car seat. Check the Good Egg Car Safety Guide to help you pick the correct seat your child requires.
Once you have selected the right seat it is imperative that the seat is fitted correctly. Switch off any airbags, particularly on rear facing baby seats fitted on the front passenger seat. If you are moving the seat from car to car, be thorough in refitting it. It is essential if a guardian or grandparent is taking the car seat into their car, that they are able to fit the seat correctly too.
To begin with, it is the car owner’s responsibility to make sure they have working safety belts that are in good condition and available to all passengers.
Safety belts are designed to fit adults and that is why it is so important to ensure your child has the correct seat for their age and height as safety belts are recommended for people who are 150cm and above. Three point and diagonal belts that cover the lap are the most common. It should be worn as tight as possible and rest over the pelvic region, not the stomach. The strap should rest on the shoulder and not the neck; naturally it is best worn as designed and not tucked under the arm pit. There are a number of add on accessories to make the safety belt more comfortable for smaller children. Comfort is key, so adjust the belt to fit the child’s size.
Behaviour inside the Car
Teaching children appropriate behaviour inside the car is essential education. You must explain to them the importance of safety and how they can take part in looking after their own safety. If you have a child who likes to move and climb out of their seat, try to use tools to keep them occupied in their seat – entertainment and comfort can be key to this. Many parents use technology such as tablets and the radio to keep their precious cargo stimulated. The time in the car can be a great opportunity for playing word games, singing and encouraging conversation. Make it work for you!
Teach your child not to distract the driver by shouting or kicking the driver’s seat. If you are distracted or your child is upset or sick, pull in at a safe place and address the problem. Once calm has been restored set off again.
When travelling with kids be mindful of arguments among siblings and friends as it can distract the driver and cause accidents. Setting a tone on how to behave in the car is key and if travelling long distances prepare with games, technology and snacks. We also suggest taking regular breaks and getting out of the car if on a long journey.
Behaviour outside the car
Accidents relating to other road users outside of the car are just as relevant to your child’s safety as those inside the car. Car parks can be potential mine fields if you are accompanied by children. We have all tried to put the shopping in the car and keep an eye on the little ones. It can be really stressful, but you can take the stress out of the situation by sitting them in the car while you load the boot. Show them where it is safe for them to stand, explain the lights on a car so they can know when a car is reversing. Watch out for hands and limbs when closing doors and the boot. Accidents happen but by being vigilant you can minimise the risk.
It is unacceptable to leave children and infants unattended in a car. There are a variety of dangers and hazards that might arise. It might be tempting to leave a child alone for a short period of time, for example, nipping into the shop or to run brief errands, but it is irresponsible to do so. From the possibility of fire to the danger of other drivers and people. No short cut is worth taking when it’s the wellbeing of your child or others at stake.
The best tip for ensuring the wellbeing and safety of your child in your car is education. Start early and teach them in a fun way how to be safe, so they can continue good habits and practice as they develop.
Safety is paramount for all drivers, whether you are a new driver or have been on the road for years. One of the first lessons that learner drivers are taught is the importance of road safety. As our experience and competency grows as drivers we become more susceptible to bad habits and short cuts. We have highlighted ten of the most common bad driving habits – so if you are a learner or know a learner, it might be worthwhile running through this helpful checklist. Equally well-seasoned drivers might benefit from a gentle reminder.
1. Check the mirrors.
Observation is a key fundamental to road safety. Clean and well positioned mirrors are essential for being safe. As soon as you get into the car, check the mirrors. It is easy to overlook this step if you are driving the same car day in day out. Check each and every mirror before you start the engine. Adjust each one to suit your needs. Clear visibility is essential so make sure mirrors and windows are clean and free from obstructions.
2. Oil, fuel and engine checks.
Do you know how to check the brake fluid? Or the oil? Knowing how to change and check your cars vital fluids is essential. This is basic car maintenance and can help protect the functionality of your car. So pop that bonnet and get familiar with the engine. Make sure to do it regularly to ensure the best performance from your car.
3. Be vigilant of coasting.
Coasting is one of the most common bad habits both new and experienced drivers are guilty of. When starting out try to be aware of each time you are riding the clutch. Remember break before clutch. If from the start you are cognisant of coasting you can avoid making it a bad habit. Not only is it bad for the car, it might lead to a failed driving test.
4. Ten and Two
Hand positioning when driving can become more relaxed over time. Keep your hands at ten and two for the best control over the car. Try feeding the wheel through your hands as you turn. Next time you are driving check out where your hands are and remind yourself to stick to ten and two.
5. Speed Limits
Knowing and sticking to speed limits is essential for your safety and the safety of other road users. It is a legal requirement, so you should know the speed limit for each road type. Be vigilant of the signs and what type of road you are driving on. Always keep an eye on how fast you are going. Remember speed kills, so be cautious and drive with care.
6. Changing a Tyre
In an age of convenience, it might be easy to rely on road side assistance to change a flat tyre for you. However it may not always be possible to use such a service and in an emergency it can be extremely helpful to know how to change a tyre. It may not be as hard as you think and there are many resources to teach you how to do it. So there are no excuses!
7. No Phones
Using your phone while you are driving is illegal and is as dangerous as speeding. Even if you are stopped at night it is not acceptable to check your phone. The call, message or social media update can wait. If it is urgent, pull over to a safe place and respond to the call or message. No text or call is worth getting in an accident for. Put down the phone and keep your eyes on the road.
Showing other drivers where you are going is a key element of communicating on the road. Check your mirrors, indicate, check mirrors again and move. Be sure to give enough time when signalling to avoid accidents. It is not just polite but vital for sharing the road with other drivers and pedestrians.
9. Blind spots
Checking blind spots can fall to the way side when you are a seasoned driver, particularly when you are driving on familiar roads. Just because you drive on the road every day doesn’t mean an unexpected accident won’t happen. Remember to check your blind spot before pulling out into traffic, before and during a three point turn or when merging with traffic and before changing lanes. Always be vigilant for traffic, pedestrians and cyclists.
10. Driving when tired
Many drivers overlook the danger of driving when tired but it can be fatal. It is equivalent to drinking and driving. If you feel sleepy or extreme tiredness while driving, pull over, have a short sleep, drink water and set off again when you are more alerted and rested. Falling asleep at the wheel is more common than we might think, so make sure you are fit and well before you get on the road.