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SEND Post 16 travel assistance application form

Application for travel assistance for students aged 16 to 25

Travel assistance may be available to students with special travel assistance needs and an education, health and care plan. 

Statutory entitlement to free travel assistance ceases once the student has completed compulsory education in Year 11. However, Staffordshire County Council will continue to provide discretionary transport to Post 16 students who meet the policy criteria upon receipt of an application and payment of the relevant charge, subject to the approval of the application. You are advised not to apply until you have considered all the information provided. If you would like to discuss any elements of the information, please contact your District SEND Assessment and Planning Service (EHC).

 

The deadline for applications is 13 June 2021. It cannot be guaranteed that applications received after this date, subject to eligibility, will have travel arrangements in place from September.  If we receive your application after the deadline, we will still process it as soon as we can.  However, students will be responsible for making their own arrangements

Students will need to ensure that all the requested information and evidence is provided in their application for travel assistance as this will form the basis for decision making.

 


 

Do I qualify?

If you need transport to school or college and are capable of accessing public transport you are not eligible under this scheme.

As a person with a disability or learning difficulty you may be eligible for a free travel pass, the extended Disabled Person’s Concessionary Pass

Staffordshire is committed to enabling its residents to become as independent as possible and 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 contact the Travel Training team at independent.traveltraining@staffordshire.gov.uk

 


 

Travel Assistance Criteria for students with an Education, Health and Care Plan who require specialised travel assistance as they are unable to walk or use public transport (even when accompanied) because of their learning difficulty or disability, aged 16 to 18 or continuing a course commenced prior to their 19th birthday.

Our definition of ‘accompanied’: This does not refer to a County Council provided Passenger Assistant. It refers to the student’s parent or carer identifying a responsible appropriate person within their support network to accompany the student during their journey to their chosen school or training provider.

Please consider the following before completing this application form:

  1. The student is between 16 and 18 years old or continuing a course (see definition below) commenced prior to their 19th birthday
  2. The student is a resident of Staffordshire
  3. The student has an Education, Health and Care plan and is unable to use public transport or walk to school/college because of a learning difficulty or disability even if accompanied by a responsible adult
  4.  Is studying at 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. When considering if a course is available, we take into account the end qualification awarded (not the individual subjects taken), the training provider having a place available to offer on that course, and that the students meet the entry requirements demanded by the training provider
  5. The student is attending a course that is funded by Staffordshire County Council
  6. The student is full time and studying more than 16 hours per week at entry level, level 1, 2 or 3.

 


 

Travel assistance criteria for students with an Education, Health and Care Plan beginning a new course over the age of 19 and under 25

For students over the age of 19 and under 25, beginning a new course, an additional assessment is made, in addition to criteria at points 1 to 6 above, as to why it is necessary for the Local Authority and not the student/family to make their own travel arrangements.

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: we would not generally consider work or childcare commitments as an exceptional reason for travel assistance to be provided. 

The decision on a student’s eligibility for travel assistance will be based solely upon information provided by the parent / carer in the application. It is the responsibility of the parent / carer to demonstrate the need for County Council travel assistance on the basis that the student is unable to walk or use public transport (even when accompanied) because of their learning difficulty or disability. 

Evidence provided by professionals to support the application should also explain why the students’ needs impact on their ability to walk or use public transport (even when accompanied) because of their learning difficulty or disability. 

Our definition of ‘accompanied’: This does not refer to a County Council provided Passenger Assistant. It refers to the student’s parent or carer identifying a responsible appropriate person within their support network to accompany the student during their journey to their chosen school or training provider. 

 


 

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.

If you meet the criteria above you will need to apply for travel assistance before 31 May. It cannot be guaranteed that applications received after this date, subject to eligibility, will have travel arrangements in place from September.  If we receive your application after 31 May, we will still process it as soon as we can.  However, students will be responsible for making their own arrangements, including the financing of those arrangements until travel assistance has been arranged.

 


 

Your Contribution to Travel Assistance

Staffordshire County Council continues to offer support to post 16 students in order to help facilitate education attendance, where eligibility is met. However, a contribution towards the cost is required.

The contribution is £625 . However, applicants providing proof that they or their parents receive one of the following are entitled to a reduced contribution of £494:

  • Income based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income support
  • Income based job seekers allowance
  • Guaranteed pension credit
  • Child tax credit but not working tax credit with a household income of less than £16,190
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum act
  • Maximum level working tax credit
  • Universal credit (provided you have an annual net earned household income of no more than £7,400 as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)

Suitable written proof includes:

  • a recent letter from the Benefits Agency giving details of the claim
  • your Pension Credit M1000 Award Notice
  • all pages of your TC602 Tax Credit award notice
  • a letter from the National Asylum Support Office confirming you are receiving support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • copies of the 3 most recent Universal Credit statements or entitlement letters (if you have been on Universal Credit less than 3 months please provide copies of the all the statements or entitlement letters you have received so far). Your statements are obtained by you from your online Universal Credit account. If you don’t have an online Universal Credit account, to request copies of your entitlement letters please contact the Department for Work and Pensions or your Jobcentre Plus office

Please note: You must submit relevant evidence that is no more than 3 months old from your application submission date. Please ensure you have the evidence available to submit with the form before you proceed further. Unless you submit this evidence with your application you will be charged the full amount of £625.

The contribution rate is fixed regardless of the number of days travelling, the distance travelled or cost to the Council. 

If you are eligible for transport to a college you are required to indicate that you have an Education Health and Care Plan.

 


 

Notification of travel assistance

If your application is approved you will be sent a letter outlining the travel assistance offer, an invoice and direct debit mandate (if applicable). Although you will have 28 days to pay the invoice to avoid debt recovery action, travel assistance will not be arranged until the invoice has been paid, or the mandate completed, returned and accepted.

Staffordshire County Council will determine the suitability and type of travel assistance provided. This will be based upon the student’s needs and abilities, balancing reasonable costs and reasonable travel/waiting times to enable access to the place of learning for the general start/finish times of the establishment and not necessarily the student’s own session times. Students using shared transport may be required to arrive before their own sessions begin and stay after they end to accommodate other students using the route. Additional journeys will not be arranged to fit around differences in student timetables.

If your application is not successful, you will be sent a letter outlining the rationale against criteria and be provided with details of the review / appeal process. 

The student should allow up to 15 working days for the District SEND Assessment and Planning Service to assess the travel assistance application. If the student is eligible for Post 16 travel assistance, the student should allow up to 20 working days for suitable travel assistance to be put in place.

Failure to provide evidence which the applicant has indicated has been supplied but has not been supplied with the application may delay the ability to make a decision on the student’s eligibility for travel assistance. 

 


 

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