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Transport for Students with Special Educational Needs

Who's eligible?

For pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or Statement of Special Educational Needs (Statement) 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 Statement of Special Educational Needs 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 Your Staffordshire card for people under the age of 20.
     
  • The extended Disabled person’s concessionary pass. You can use this to travel free on public transport in Staffordshire any time of the day, any day of the week. A companion pass may be provided for a companion to also travel free of charge. Outside of Staffordshire you can use the pass between 9.30am and 11.30pm, Monday to Friday, and all day at the weekend and Bank Holidays.

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. This is 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, Statement of Special Educational Need or s139 Assessment if they can 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 transport to the nearest suitable learning provider offering the course, regardless of the distance.

How much does it cost?

Low income students have to pay £494 towards the cost. Those who do not meet the low income criteria will have to pay a conribution of £625. 

How long will I get assistance?

You may get assistance until you are aged 25 if you are a student with learning difficulties or disabilities. This is for any continuing course begun on or before your 19th birthday if you meet the other entitlement criteria, and transport was agreed for previous years.

A new course is one where the named qualification, learning aims, outcomes, unit/course code or title of the course differ from the previous year. For example, an A level in maths delivered over 2 years is a continuing course. This is because the qualification is awarded only at the completion of the second year.

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 complete each year, this is not considered a continuing course.

What if I start my course after the age of 19?

You may start a new course after the age of 19 and have an EHCP, Statement of Special Educational Needs or S139a assessment. We will make an extra assessment on why it is necessary for us and not the student or family to make their own travel arrangements.

We base the decision on information provided by the parent or carer along with any information already provided as part of any Social Care and Health Assessment, s139a Learning Disability Assessment, Statement of Special Educational Need, or Education, Health and Care Plan.

We will consider, amongst other things:

  • Your educational needs based upon the EHCP or section 139a Assessment. You should be attending the nearest suitable placement as agreed by the Authority.
     
  • Your needs and abilities. We give travel help only to those where their learning disability or difficulty prevents them from accessing public transport even when accompanied or if they cannot be expected to complete the journey even when accompanied or the
    journey is within walking distance but they cannot be expected to complete the journey even when accompanied.
     
  • Why it is necessary for the county council and not the student or family to make travel arrangements. To assess this we would need to know:
     
    • 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 as an exceptional reason on their own for travel assistance to be provided.

You must provide any supporting evidence with your application.

How and when do I apply?

Letters will be sent during early May 2018 to all parents/carers of Year 11 to 25 year old young people who currently receive travel assistance to inform them whether they need to apply for travel assistance for September 2018:

  • Students currently in Year 11 receiving travel assistance from the County Council and wishing to apply for travel assistance for September 2018, must submit an application by 30 May 2018.  Travel assistance will not continue from September 2018 unless an application is submitted and the young person is determined to be eligible.
  • Students currently in Year 12 and up to the age of 25 who did not apply for travel assistance last year and wish to apply for travel assistance for September 2018, must submit an application by 30 May 2018.  Travel assistance will not continue from September 2018 unless an application is submitted and the young person is determined to be eligible.
  • Students currently in Year 12 and up to the age of 25 who successfully applied for travel assistance last year and are continuing on the same course will not need to re-apply this year.  There is a requirement to submit a Payment Options and Declaration form so that the County Council can process their payment.  Students in this category who are changing education setting in September 2018 or are due to start a new course after the 19th birthday, must submit an application by 30 May 2018 so that their eligibility for continuing travel assistance can be assessed.

If students fall into any of the categories above and have not heard from the County Council regarding their entitlement to travel assistance by 16 May 2018 they will need to contact their District SEND Assessment and Planning Service (EHC):

  • East Staffs & Tamworth – 01283 239755
  • Lichfield & Cannock – 01543 512050
  • Stafford & South Staffs – 01785 356854
  • Newcastle & Moorlands – 01782 297524

If students do not fall into any of the categories above and they consider that they meet criteria, they will need to apply for travel assistance before 30 May 2018. It cannot be guaranteed that applications received after this date will automatically receive travel assistance from September 2018 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.

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 Part 4 of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or 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:

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

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.

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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