Most children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) can access school or college in a safe manner and do not need any form of travel assistance from the council. There are some children, however, for whom some form of travel assistance is necessary.
There are some children, however, for whom some form of travel assistance is necessary. To aid these children and young people in accessing their education, the council has policies in place.
- Education travel assistance policy (PDF 341kB) – for children up to and including Year 11
- Post 16 education travel assistance policy (PDF 140kB) – for young people aged 16-18
- 18+ adult learners education/ training policy (PDF 173 kB) - for learners aged 19 and over
Travel assistance is available to pupils who are assessed as eligible under the relevant policy (based on age) and these policies have been developed to take account of the Department for Education guidance (PDF)
It is important to note that having an EHCP does not mean that a child or young person is automatically eligible to receive travel assistance. Travel assistance is only provided to children or young people who have applied for and been assessed as eligible under the relevant policy.
Eligibility for travel assistance
In most cases there is an expectation that, wherever possible, children and young people will be able top travel to and from their education placement (by walking or parents making their own arrangements) accompanied as necessary and it remains a parent’s responsibility to make such arrangements.
Children and young people under the age of 16 currently travel for free on London buses. All learners, including those with a statutory entitlement to travel assistance, are expected to make use of the free travel offer from Transport for London (TfL) unless they have particular needs, disabilities or circumstances that prevent this. Further information on how to access the free TfL transport offer, please go to https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/free-and-discounted-travel.
We understand that this may not always be possible or suitable and a child or young person may be eligible for travel assistance if:
- They have an EHCP naming the education provision you are seeking travel assistance to
- The named education provision has been assessed as the nearest suitable/appropriate provision that can meet the child or young person’s needs.
- The needs of the child or young person are such that they are unable to access the named education provision without travel assistance, even if this is below the minimum statutory walking distance
- In cases where the eligibility is not awarded on needs alone, the home to education provision walking distance is more that the minimum statutory walking distance for the pupils’ age.
Nearest suitable/appropriate education provision:
The nearest appropriate school for transport purposes is the nearest school that is considered suitable by the Department for Education to provide education for the child or young person’s age and ability. This includes all academies, free schools, and faith schools, even if a child or young person’s is not of the same faith. In some parts of the borough, a child or young person’s nearest appropriate school may be located in another education authority, outside of the London Borough of Bromley. Beyond this definition, no further consideration will be given for a child or young person’s preference for a single-sexed, mixed, specialist or particular type of school. Selective schools will not be regarded as appropriate for transport purposes where learners have not met the entry requirements for those schools
Minimum statutory walking distances
The minimum statutory walking distances, as defined by the Department for Education are
- For children under the age of 8, the education provision must be more than 2 miles from the home
- For children and young people aged 8 and over, the education provision must be over 3 miles from the home.
When a child reaches 8 years of age and has previously received travel assistance on the grounds of distance, travel assistance will be withdrawn if they live less than 3 miles from the education provision and this will normally be from the beginning of the term after their 8th birthday.
Exceptional or discretionary travel assistance
In some exceptional circumstances (for example, child medical grounds, parent medical grounds or individual family circumstances) the council may consider whether to award travel assistance outside of policy when the eligibility criteria has not been met. If you wish for such circumstances to be considered, you will need to provide supporting evidence from relevant professionals (such as a medical consultant, etc) at the time of your application.
Any exceptional of discretionary award will be reviewed annually and up to date supporting evidence will be required. There is no guarantee that such award will continue if up to date supporting evidence is not provided when requested.
Extended rights eligibility
There is currently an extended right to eligibility for children and young people form a low-income family. To be assessed for travel assistance under the low-income criteria, the child or young person must be aged over eight years of age and be entitled to free school meals or the family must be in receipt of one of the benefits listed below:
- Income support
- Income based jobseekers allowance
- Child Tax Credit (TC602 for the current tax year with a yearly income of no more than £16,190pa) without Working Tax Credit
- Guaranteed element of state pension credit
- Income related employment and support allowance
- Maximum level of Working Tax Credit.
- Universal Credit (provided families have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as confirmed by earnings from up to the three most recent assessment periods).
Current evidence of the benefit received by families must be provided to Bromley Council at the time of application.
The child or young person must also attend:
- the nearest appropriate school that is beyond 2 miles (for child or young person’s over the age of eight and under 11).
- one of their three nearest schools that are between two and six miles (if aged 11-16).
- the school that is between two and 15 miles and is the nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief (if aged 4-16). They must also have the application form signed by a vicar/priest of the same denomination as the school stating that the child or young person is a regular and practising member of a church of the same denomination as the school.
- If the child or young person is attending an education provision as a result of it being your preference and it is further away than the education provision identified by the council as the nearest appropriate provision that can meet the child’ or young person’s needs, there is no duty on the council to provide travel assistance.
- Once the child or young person has been assessed as eligible for travel assistance (and it is not an exceptional or discretionary award) , the award will remain in place whilst they remain at the education provision for which they have been assessed and from the home address you have applied from. If your circumstances changes (such as a change of education provision or change of home address), any travel assistance award will cease and you would need to submit a new application to be assessed against the relevant policy.
For changes of address, you must provide proof of the new address (copy of tenancy agreement if renting or completion document if buying a new property).
- Any contracted transport is usually only provided at the beginning and end of the normal school day for the education provision. Part-time and reduced timetables cannot normally be accommodated.
- Solo/individual transport is not awarded unless it is an exceptional case and only where the needs of the child dictate that such transport is required.
How to apply
Please ensure that you have read all of the information provided before making your application.
It is important that you provide as much information and evidence with your application to allow the council to fully assess your application against the relevant policy.
Once your application has been submitted the council will assess it against the relevant education travel assistance policy and provide you with a decision within 20 working days. Please do not chase the outcome of your application until 20 workings days has elapsed form the date you submitted the application.