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Transport for Students with Special Educational Needs

Who's eligible?

For pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) we apply the same general eligibility criteria as other pupils.

We have a duty to make arrangements for travel support up to the end of year 11 in particular specified cases.

Pupils entitled to help with travel would either:

  • Live beyond a required walking distance.
    or
  • They cannot be reasonably expected to make the journey safely to school (even when accompanied). They must be attending the nearest suitable school with places available as determined by us.

Please note: having an EHCP or attending a special school or unit does not automatically result in the provision of free travel.

What support is provided?

Staffordshire values improved outcomes that support independence for pupils as much as possible.

We offer:

  • Independent travel training. This is a lifelong skill which can have positive impacts beyond the home to school or college journey.
     
  • The  Disabled person’s concessionary pass. A companion pass may be provided for a companion to also travel free of charge. The times that the pass can be used have been extended in Staffordshire for those who are below retirement age. 

Our first offer of travel support would be to use public transport where suitable. Otherwise we would arrange contracted transport.

Rarely we may agree a mileage payment calculated using the shortest driving route. We would calculate this using Google maps, avoiding toll roads.

Please note:  we generally provide travel support to and from one permanent home address only.

What do you not provide support for?

The following are some examples of when free travel is unlikely to be provided:

  • To or from breakfast or after school clubs or activities

  • To or from work experience, taster or open days

  • To or from part-time provision off the school site organised by the school e.g. to vocational classes at a college

  • For movement between educational establishments/sites

  • To or from temporary addresses

  • To or from childminders, friends or other family members addresses

  • Students on exchange visits. The receiving family are responsible for arranging and paying for any transport required

  • To or from dental, clinical, medical or hospital appointments

  • At a differing time due to detention or after school activities

  • Due to parental work or childcare arrangements

  • To or from any site other than the registered main base of the educational institution

  • Due to family financial circumstances except where you meet the income assessed criteria

What are the criteria for travel assistance? 

We provide help with travel subject to the criteria outlined below. The child must be attending the nearest suitable available provision.

You may choose to send your child to a more distant school or specialist provider. Then you will assume responsibility for the provision of transport and all associated costs.

The criteria are:

  • The child is of statutory school age and in Year 6 or below and lives more than 2 miles from the nearest suitable school.
     
  • The child is of statutory school age and in Year 7 to 11 and lives more than 3 miles from the nearest suitable school.
     
  • The child has a severe, profound or multiple learning difficulty or a disability. They cannot be expected to complete the journey to school safely even when accompanied, regardless of the distance. Please note: it is the parent’s responsibility to arrange for any accompaniment.

Please note: Statutory school age is from reception year until the end of year 11.

Any help with travel we provide will be subject to an annual review. The type of transport or level of support may change to reflect the changing needs of the pupil. Travel support may not be necessary as the child grows older and if they become more independent.

We will take such decisions on an individual basis and will take full account of the child’s needs.

Are passenger assistants provided?

Passenger assistants will be provided if:

  • The child is under 5 years old

    or

  • The child’s disability makes it necessary to provide a passenger assistant

    or

  • The child has an emotional/behavioural difficulty. This is one that gives rise to concerns about the wellbeing of the pupil or other pupils or staff during the journey

Schools and parents have a responsibility to ensure that they brief passenger assistants about all the needs of the pupil. 

It is not the passenger assistant’s or driver's role to administer medication for any child in their care. This is unless it has been agreed and signed off in the child’s care plan.

Is there transport help for short stay respite arrangements?

There is no guarantee that we can meet requests for respite transport. This is because children entitled to home to school transport take priority.

For children at special schools we may provide help with travel between school and respite care but only on the rare occasions where there is an existing contract that we can use at no extra cost. If there are extra transport costs, parents or the organisation providing respite care will need to meet them.

You must put requests for respite transport in writing to Transport and the Connected County. Please give at least ten working days notice.

Is there any post-16 travel support for students with special educational needs?

Once a student is beyond statutory school age at the end of Year 11, there is no automatic entitlement to free or subsidised travel. We want to support students of all ages in building their independence when accessing school and college and also the wider community. You should consider this as part of your transition planning.

We would not offer help with travel for students with an EHCP if they are able to travel on public transport when accompanied. Work or childcare commitments are not generally considered a reason on their own to not arrange such accompaniment.

Your learning difficulty or disability may mean you are unable to use public transport or cannot make the journey to school or college even when accompanied. We may be able to arrange suitable travel assistance to the nearest suitable learning provider offering the course, regardless of the distance.

For full details of the options available to post 16 students please read our post 16 transport statement.

How and when do I apply for post 16 travel assistance ?

Please be sure to read in full the  post 16 transport statement before applying to make sure you understand and meet the entitlement criteria.

Parents and young people interested in the post 16 travel the scheme, regardless of whether they are already in receipt of travel assistance currently, should submit an application to their District SEND Assessment and Planning Service (EHC):

An application for travel assistance should be submitted by 30 May. It cannot be guaranteed that applications received after this date will automatically receive travel assistance from the following September and students will be responsible for making their own arrangements, including the financing of those arrangements until travel assistance is arranged.  Where the student meets criteria, travel assistance will be subject to an annual financial contribution. 

Please send your completed application and supporting evidence by post or email to the relevant SEND District office:

Your data

Any personal data collected through your application for education travel is handled securely and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

We will use the information to process your application for education travel.

The County Council uses personal information about children and families to enable it to provide relevant services to them and to carry out specific functions for which it is responsible.

For more detailed information please see our data information pages

Do I have the right to request a review for travel assistance decisions?

Parents have the right to request a review of decisions on travel assistance entitlement. The review / appeal process is there for parents and/or young people who wish to challenge a decision about:

  • Eligibility for travel assistance including;
  • The distance measurement in relation to statutory walking distances for children and young people up to and including Y11; and
  • The availability and / or nature of the route for children and young people up to and including Y11; and
  • Transport arrangements offered

For more information on how eligibility is assessed and the review/appeal process, please download and read the terms of reference document below. This document describes how eligibility is assessed and sets out a clear and transparent two stage appeals process (with paper copies available on request) for parents and/or young people who wish to challenge a decision about travel assistance.

Please note: It is outside the remit of the SEN travel assistance review / appeal process to make decisions regarding the suitability of a school named in Section I of an Education, Health and Care Plan as nearest appropriate. The process will ensure the transport policy and law have been correctly applied. It will also ensure that any special and exceptional circumstances which mean that travel assistance should be granted as a concession are taken into account. Requests for review / appeal which centre solely on the suitability of the school will be rejected and the parent referred back to the SEND Assessment and Planning Service (EHC).  During the review / appeal process you are responsible for arranging and funding any travel until your case has been considered.

How can I request a review?

If you wish to request a Stage 1 review, please complete the appropriate form below depending on the age of your son or daughter. Please ensure that you give details of all the exceptional circumstances and provide all the supporting information you wish us to consider. A request to review at Stage 1 must be made within 20 working days of travel assistance being refused. The outcome of your review request will be communicated to you within 20 working days of receiving it.

For Students under the age of 16 (up to Year 11), please use this form:

Please note that the postal address for the Newcastle office is incorrect on the form and should be Newcastle and Staffordshire Moorlands, Castle House, Barracks Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 1BL.

For Students aged 16 to 25 (Year 12 and above), please use this form: 

Please note that the postal address for the Newcastle office is incorrect on the form and should be Newcastle and Staffordshire Moorlands, Castle House, Barracks Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 1BL.

What do I do if my appeal is unsuccessful?

If you are unsuccessful at Stage 1, we will inform you in writing how to request a Stage 2 review. You should request a Stage 2 review within 20 working days of the Stage 1 review outcome.

Please note: that if you have been unsuccessful, further review and appeal requests would not be accepted in the same academic year unless there has been a significant material change in your circumstances or you are able to provide new supporting information for consideration. 

Who provides travel assistance during the review / appeal process?

During the review / appeal process you are responsible for arranging and funding any travel until your case has been considered. The Council only becomes responsible for arranging travel assistance once it has been decided the child or young person is eligible and for funding it once travel arrangements have been made.  

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