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Post-16 transport statement 2020-21

Transport policy statement for young people aged 16-18 in further education, continuing learners aged 19 and those young people aged 19 – 24 (inclusive) with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

Department responsible: Families and Communities 

Final version post consultation: 29 May 2020

Please note: the offer of support detailed here may change as a result of Covid-19.

 

Introduction

Local authorities do not have to provide free or subsidised post 16 travel support but do have a duty to prepare and publish an annual transport policy statement specifying the arrangements for the provision of transport or other support that the authority considers it necessary to make to facilitate the attendance of all persons of sixth form age receiving education or training.

All young people carrying on their education post 16 must reapply for travel support.

‘Sixth form age’ refers to those young people who are over 16 years of age but under 19 or continuing learners who started their programme of learning before their 19th birthday (years 12,13,14).

Local authorities also have a duty to encourage, enable and assist young people with learning difficulties / disabilities to participate in education and training, up to the age of 25.

This policy uses the term ‘Post 16’ to include both learners of sixth form age and those with learning difficulties / disabilities up to the age of 25.

This document specifies the support that Staffordshire County Council (the council) considers necessary to facilitate the attendance of Post 16 learners receiving education or training.

Education or training refers to learning or training at a school, further education institution, a council maintained or assisted institution providing higher or further education, an establishment funded directly by the Education Skills Funding Agency, learning providers delivering accredited programmes of learning which lead to positive outcomes and are funded by the council, for example, colleges, charities and private learning providers.

Aims and Objectives

For local authorities in England, provision of travel assistance for students of sixth form age is not a statutory requirement and it is up to the local authority to decide what arrangements it considers necessary.

We aim to provide support to those young people who need it the most whilst working within Government guidelines and supporting a sustainable public transport system across the county whilst building independence and life-long travel skills. The post 16 travel statement is published each year, following a period of consultation allowing students, parents, schools, colleges and neighbouring authorities to comment. This consultation is generally carried out during February and March each year and published on the council website.

Please note the Raising of the Participation Age has not created any new entitlement to free or subsidised post-16 travel assistance – students are not required just to stay at school or college but can work, volunteer or take part in an apprenticeship whilst continuing their education.

Always check all your travel options before you make a decision – consider your journey to and from school or college when choosing where to attend, and that receipt of travel assistance in previous years does not guarantee any assistance post 16. Most students who need to make travel arrangements will be able to make use of public transport, and public bus and train companies offer travel passes at competitive prices which may be your cheapest option – contact them directly for details and cost. For help with planning a journey contact Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit the Traveline website. For details of your nearest bus stop and routes see our bus travel pages. Some schools and colleges also operate their own transport – contact them directly for information.

 We support those beginning a course aged between 16 to 19 who are low income, and those with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) who require specialist travel assistance due to a learning difficulty or disability, through the Staffordshire Post 16 travel assistance scheme as detailed below.

The Council does not make any general arrangements for free transport or the payment of any travelling expenses for adults (those above the age of 19) under section 508F of the Education Act 1996 as it considers that these are unnecessary for the vast majority of adults.

In all cases travel assistance is considered/provided from only one permanent home address to the one main base where the student is registered.

Transport and travel support

Please note that the support detailed below may change as a result of Covid19.

Concessionary tickets for young people 16 – 25 from public transport providers

To find the public bus current ticketing option that best meets your circumstances please contact directly the bus operators in your area.

The Knot ticket

The Knot ticket can be used on buses operated by Arriva, First, Select, Stagecoach, Midland Classic, D&G and National Express/Travel West Midlands. This covers around 90% of the Staffordshire bus network and allows unlimited travel all day for £7 on any of those operator's buses within the specified area. For more information contact the bus company directly. 

Stoke on Trent Smart ticket

Information correct as at 10 January 2020 - The Smart multi-operator bus pass allows you to travel on buses provided by different operators across North Staffordshire with just one ticket.

 You can travel with any of the bus operators listed below, on any bus route, at any time of day across Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and North Staffordshire within the boundaries of the scheme.

Smart tickets cannot be used to travel to or from areas outside of the boundary, but you can use it to travel up to the boundary and pay the additional fare to your final destination. Smart tickets are valid on the following bus operators' services:

  • First
  • D&G
  • Scraggs
  • Arriva Midlands

Students at Stoke on Trent College, Newcastle- under-Lyme College or Stoke on Trent Sixth Form College can also buy special student tickets -please visit the Smart ticket website for more information.

Train travel - if you’re aged 16 or 17, you can now enjoy 50% off standard Anytime, Off-Peak, Advance and Season tickets, helping you save money on trips into town, days out to the coast, travel to college or weekend festivals – as many times as you like. A 16-17 Saver is just £30 and is valid for one year or until your 18th birthday, whichever comes first. For more information visit the 16-17 saver webpage.

Travel support from schools and colleges

Schools and colleges may also offer their own transport arrangements. For up to date information, prices and application forms contact the school or college directly.

Staffordshire schools providing post 16 education:

Abbot Beyne School

Alleyne's Academy

Biddulph High School

Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Sports College

Blessed William Howard Catholic School

Blythe Bridge High School and College

Cannock Chase High School

Cardinal Griffin Catholic High School

Chase Terrace Technology College

Cheslyn Hay Sport and Community High School

Codsall Community High School

Erasmus Darwin Academy

Great Wyrley Performing Arts High School

John Taylor High School

King Edward VI High School, Stafford

King Edward VI School, Lichfield

Kingsmead School

Kinver High School and Sixth Form

Landau Forte Academy Tamworth Sixth Form

Leek High - Specialist Technology School

Moorside High School

Nether Stowe High School, Lichfield

Norton Canes High School

Ounsdale High School

Paget High School

Painsley Catholic College

Paulet High School

Sir Graham Balfour High School

St. John Fisher Catholic High School

Stafford Sports College

Staffordshire University Academy

The Cheadle Academy

The de Ferrers Academy

The Friary School, Lichfield

The Hart School (Previously Fair Oak and Hagley)

The JCB Academy

The King's CE (A) School

The Weston Road Academy

Thomas Alleyne's High School

Walton High School

Westwood College

Wolgarston High School - A Specialist Tech College

 

Special schools:

Blackfriars Special School

Hednesford Valley High School

Meadows Special School

Queen's Croft Community High School

Saxon Hill Community Special School

The Fountains High School

Two Rivers High School

Walton Hall Academy

Wightwick Hall School

 The main college further education providers are:

  • South Staffordshire College with sites at Cannock, Lichfield, Tamworth and Rodbaston
  • Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group
  • Burton and South Derbyshire College
  • Moorlands Sixth Form College

The 16-19 Bursary Fund

 The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund provides financial support to help young people overcome specific barriers to participation, so they can remain in education. 

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursaries: 

1. A vulnerable bursary of up to £1,200 a year for young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups below:

  • in care
  • care leavers
  • in receipt of Income Support, or Universal Credit in place of Income Support, in their own right
  • in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit and Disability Living or Personal Independence Payments in their own right
  • discretionary bursaries which institutions award to meet individual needs, for example, help with the cost of transport, meals, books and equipment 

2. Discretionary bursaries which institutions award to meet individual needs, for example, help with the cost of transport, meals, books and equipment 

To be eligible for the discretionary bursary young people must: 

  • be aged 16 or over but under 19 at 31 August 2020 or
  • be aged 19 or over at 31 August 2020 and have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • be aged 19 or over at 31 August 2020 and continuing on a study programme they began aged 16 to 18 (‘19+ continuers’)
  • be studying a programme that is subject to inspection by a public body which assures quality (such as Ofsted), the provision must also be funded by either a Government funding agency or the local authority 

Schools and colleges are responsible for managing both types of bursary. Young people who want to apply for support from the bursary fund should contact their chosen school or college to make an application. 

Young parents / Care to Learn

If you are a young parent under 20, Care to Learn can help pay for your childcare and related travel costs, up to £160 per child per week, while you’re learning.

Care to Learn can help with the cost of:

  • childcare, including deposit and registration fees
  • a childcare ‘taster’ session (up to 5 days)
  • keeping your childcare place over the summer holidays
  • taking your child to the childcare provider

The childcare provider must be Ofsted registered and can be a:

  • childminder
  • pre-school playgroup
  • day nursery
  • out of school club

If your child needs specialist childcare, the provider must also be on the Care Quality Commission’s register for specialist provision.

If you want a relative to get Care to Learn for looking after your child, they need to be both:

  • providing registered childcare for children they’re not related to
  • living apart from you and your child
  • Childcare payments go directly to your childcare provider. Before your childcare provider can be paid:
  • your childcare provider needs to confirm your child’s attendance
  • your school or college needs to confirm that you’re attending your course

Payments for travel costs go to your school or college - they’ll either pay you or arrange travel for you.

Payments will stop if:

  • you stop attending your course
  • you finish your course
  • your child stops attending childcare

 You can get Care to Learn if:

  • you’re a parent under 20 at the start of your course
  • you’re the main carer for your child
  • you live in England
  • you’re either a British citizen or a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) country
  • your course is publicly funded (check with your school or college)
  • your childcare provider is registered with Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission 

Care to Learn is only available for courses in England that have some public funding. This includes courses that take place in:

  • schools
  • school sixth forms
  • sixth form colleges
  • other colleges and learning providers, including Foundation Learning
  • your community at Children’s Centres 

Young parents are also entitled to apply for an Under 19 Bus Only Ticket or for those aged 19 and over can apply for the 19 – 25 card.

The Residential Support Scheme

Whilst not assisting with transport costs the Residential Support Scheme does provide financial support with accommodation costs for students (aged between 16 and 19) who need to live away from home to study because their course is not available locally

Residential Bursary Fund

You may be able to get a bursary towards the cost of accommodation from some specialist residential colleges under the Residential Bursary Fund. Each specialist college has its own eligibility criteria, which often includes parental income.

Local Authority support

General terms and conditions applying to all post 16 student 

This scheme may not be the cheapest or best option for you – always check out your other options| before applying. 

  1. For students in year 12 and above in September 2020, support is offered to Staffordshire residents studying a full-time course at level 3 or below which began on or before the date of the students 19th birthday, with at least 16 hours of timetabled study per week.  The low income criteria must also be met.  Transport assistance is not given to higher education courses (level 4 and above, such as Foundation Degrees or Higher National Diplomas).  
  2. For students with learning difficulties and disabilities, we will continue to offer support until a course is completed providing the course was begun on or before the day of their 19 birthday. However, if you are unable to access public transport (even when accompanied) due to a learning difficulty or disability, you should apply under the SEN scheme 
  3. The course must be funded by the local authority - transport support is not given to students paying fees for their tuition or attending a course as part of a paid apprenticeship.
  4. Transport support is given to your catchment school or the nearest training provider with places available for the course/courses you wish to study.
  5. The school/college must be between 3 and 15 miles away.  The distance will be measured by Staffordshire County Council using the shortest driving route. The distance criteria will be waived for students where their learning difficulty or disability prevents them from walking to school or college or using public transport to complete their journey.
  6. When considering if a course is available, we take into account – the end qualification awarded, not the individual units taken; the training provider having a place available to offer to you on that course; you meet the entry requirements demanded by that training provider; that the location meets any requirements you have as a result of any learning difficulty or disability you may have.
  7. Suitability of transport will be determined by Staffordshire County Council – this will be based upon balancing reasonable costs and reasonable travel/waiting times and enables you to access your learning place during school/college days at the school or college general start/finish times.  This could mean that you may not receive transport assistance for the quickest or most convenient transport.
  8. For students with a learning difficulty or a disability, the need for specialised transport and the type of transport required due to an inability to walk or use public transport will be based upon information obtained from the school, college, the s139A learning difficulty assessment document, statement of special educational needs, or Education, Health and Care plan and any other appropriate professional(s).
  9. Students using this transport scheme are expected to make their own way to the nearest pick up point/bus stop/train station up to 1 mile away from the home address or destination if required. 
  10. Any public bus pass issued under this scheme will provide travel at a minimum during term time only between home and your place of learning. 
  11. Transport assistance is not given to attend work placements or work experience.
  12. We will provide transport to your registered base only, to enable attendance for the general start/finish times of the academic day.  Transport to other sites or work placements, is not covered by this scheme.  Transport to your registered base outside standard hours to attend activities that are not essential to passing your course is not covered by this scheme.
  13. Any travel pass issued under the scheme remains the property of Staffordshire County Council and must be returned if a student leaves school or college.  Should you lose your pass a charge will be made for a replacement.
  14. Should you leave your course and require a refund you must return your pass to Transport & the Connected County.  Refunds will not be made until the pass has been received.  An administration fee of £10 may be deducted.
  15. Please be aware should payment not be made per your agreed payment method (in full, termly or instalments), transport support will be withdrawn following a notice period, and the same payment method will not be offered the following year.
  16. Unacceptable behaviour such as fighting, bullying or foul language whilst using transport may result in the pass being withdrawn.  Parents will be held responsible for any damage caused and may be charged for it.
  17. It can take up to 20 working days for the pass to be issued.  Claims for payment of travel costs before 20 working days after receipt of your payment and photographs where applicable will not be accepted.  No backdated claims for payment will be accepted.   
  18. However long your course is, you must make a new application for transport assistance each year.
  19. You must notify the Authority if you change address or your course of study.
  20. There is no variation in price for this scheme dependant on the number of days or distance travelled – the price remains unchanged.

For information, the average gross cost per student to Staffordshire County Council of providing travel assistance for the academic year 2019-20 was £899 for a student attending a mainstream school

LA support for Learners with special travel needs due to special educational needs or a disability

The following applies for students with special educational needs or a disability:

  • Is a Staffordshire resident
  • Have their 19th birthday on or after 1 September 2020 or continuing a course begun before the day of their 19th birthday (see definition) and
  • Is a full-time student (16 hours or more timetabled sessions per week) - the course can be at entry level or at level 1, 2, or 3. Travel assistance is not given to higher education courses (level 4 and above, such as Foundation Degrees or Higher National Diplomas). and
  • The student is unable to walk or use public transport (even when accompanied) due to their learning difficulty or disability and
  • The student is attending the nearest suitable school, college or Local Authority funded training provider offering the course as specified by the Local Authority and named in the Education, Health and Care Plan, regardless of the distance to travel
  • Support will be offered to low income students for a contribution of £494, or to non-low income students for a contribution of £625.  Low income is where the student or their parent is in receipt of a benefit that leads to the receipt of free school meals   - these are Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit but not Working Tax Credit and the household income is not more that £16,190, the Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit, support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 or Universal Credit with an annual net earned household income of no more than £7,400, or receives the maximum level of Working Tax Credit  
  • Staffordshire County Council may be able to provide travel assistance through the offer of a personal travel budget.  Under this scheme the student will be responsible for making their own travel arrangements.

In addition to the above conditions, the following also applies to students with an Education, Health and Care plan beginning a new course over the age of 19 and under the age of 25:

An assessment is made as to why it is necessary for the council to make travel arrangements. The decision is based upon information provided by the parent/carer and previously provided within any Social Care and Health Assessment or Education, Health and Care Plan. We will consider, amongst other things.

What other arrangements you have considered or tried and why they are not suitable. 

  • If there is a family member/carer who is able to transport the student and why it would not be a reasonable arrangement to make.
  • If the student is in receipt of higher rate mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance, the purpose of which is to assist those who have mobility problems, with severe difficulty walking or who need help getting around outside. We would normally expect this benefit to be fully utilised and if there are any factors limiting its' use you should provide details of them.
  • If there is a 'Motability' vehicle which the student may or may not be driver. If a decision has been made to not use the 'Motability' vehicle to support the student to reach their education placement, we would normally expect the carer/student to make their own appropriate alternative arrangements or provide details as to why that is not possible/reasonable.
  • Any other exceptional circumstances that you consider need to be taken into account and consider any recent supporting evidence that you provide. 
  • Please note that we would not generally consider work or childcare commitments on their own as an exceptional reason for travel assistance to be provided.
  • Should it be deemed necessary for the authority to arrange a vehicle for travel assistance support there will be no charge to the student. However, if support is agreed is via the payment of a mileage allowance or personal travel budget, a contribution is required towards the cost.  

What is a new course and what is a continuing course?

Our definition of a new course is one where the named qualification, learning aims, outcomes, unit/course code or title of the course differ to the previous year. For example, an A level in maths delivered over 2 years (the qualification being awarded only at the end of completion of the second year) is considered a continuing course.

Where a student follows a programme of study such as a level 1 course the first year, and progresses on to the level 2 the next, or completes a series of courses where the outcomes differ each year and there is no requirement to progress to the second or further years to successfully complete each year, this is not considered a continuing course.    

For information the average gross cost per student to Staffordshire County Council of providing travel assistance for the academic year 2018-19 was -

  • £7,082 for a student with learning difficulties and disabilities attending a school
  • £10,264 for a student with learning difficulties and disabilities attending a college

Refunds

Should you leave your course and require a refund you must return your pass to Transport & the Connected County. Refunds will not be made until the pass has been received. An administration fee of £10 may be deducted.

Travel training 

Staffordshire County Council is committed to enabling its residents to become as independent as possible. To this end, the County Council offers Independent Travel Training. This is a lifelong skill which can have positive impacts beyond the home to school or college journey.  It promotes independence and choice, develops confidence and social skills and it opens up further education and employment opportunities.  Training is tailored to the skills and the pace of the individual.  

The Travel Trainers work in partnership with schools and parents/carers to enable the individual to achieve their goals.  Travel Training involves route planning, using a variety of travel options, road and personal safety, dealing with emergencies and applying for the appropriate travel pass.  For more information please speak to your child’s school or college or email the Travel Training team

Apprenticeships 

Staffordshire does not offer any specific travel assistance for apprenticeship or traineeship students. Please contact your learning provider or work placement for more information. 

Those not in education, employment or training (NEET)

No specific arrangements are made directly by the Council for students who are NEET. Local bus companies offer a range of passes and should be contacted directly for further information. 

LA support in other circumstances 

Travel assistance may be available under the Staffordshire Post 16 travel assistance scheme if there are special reasons why it should be necessary to attend a learning establishment further away from home. For eligible students we will offer travel assistance between your home address and your accommodation general location on the same basis as to which the placement funding has been agreed (e.g. termly boarding, weekly boarding, 38 week placement) providing all other entitlement criteria are met. 

Students using schemes operated by schools or colleges or buying a public service pass directly from the operator or via the college, should contact them directly for details of what transport support they offer or valid areas for tickets to be used outside of Staffordshire.

Additional eligibility criteria 

The Staffordshire Post 16 travel assistance scheme is for students who are resident in Staffordshire only. Students living outside of Staffordshire should approach their own local council.

Under the Staffordshire County Council schemes, if the nearest suitable learning provider offering the course is in another local authority area then students will still qualify for assistance providing all other entitlement criteria are met.

Students who reach the age of 19 whilst continuing a course remain eligible until the end of that academic year for transport support (different arrangements apply for those with learning difficulties and disabilities please see the section on page 14 ‘LA support for Learners with special educational needs or a disability’)

Applying for LA transport support 

If you wish to buy a bus pass directly from the local bus company, or use transport arranged by your school or college, contact them directly for details of how and when to apply. 

Applications for a Disabled Person’s Concessionary Bus Pass should be made through your local Staffordshire library

Students who wish to apply for travel assistance from Staffordshire County Council must make an application each year. Application forms and dates to apply by will be available from our website 

Appeals 

The Local Authority has adopted a 2 stage review and appeals process  for those both under and over 16. There are separate forms to request a post 16 support scheme decision review, or for a review of decision of support for those with Special Educational Needs or disabilities. 

Please note that should the two stage process be completed and be unsuccessful, no further reviews or appeals will be held during that academic year unless there had been a material change of circumstances or further new supporting evidence is being provided. 

After having completed the two stage process and your appeal has not been upheld you may want to consider contacting the Local Government Ombudsman or the Secretary of State for Education. 

Details of concessionary fares, discounts, subsidies, passes or travel cards including any charges available for Post 16 young people

Passes purchased directly from public service operators, schools and colleges will have different arrangements regarding costs, timings and how and when to apply, and they should be contacted directly for more information. 

For disabled students and those with learning difficulties, passes issued under the Disabled Persons Concessionary bus pass scheme can be used outside of Staffordshire as a minimum between 9.30am and 11pm Monday to Friday and all day, weekends and bank holidays. Within Staffordshire they can be used for free weekday travel before 9.30am. 

Students who have been issued a pass under the Staffordshire County Council post 16 travel assistance scheme are normally limited to travel on school days only. Passes issued for a seat on a contracted vehicle are limited to the one morning and one afternoon journey to and from school during term time. Any transport between sites during the day is not covered by the scheme, but the school or college may be able to offer assistance.

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