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.
The Council offers travel assistance for children who are assessed as eligible under the SEN Transport Policy. The Council’s policy has been developed taking into account the Department for Education’s publication, Home to school travel and transport guidance.
Having an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), does not automatically mean that your child is eligible to receive travel assistance form the Council.
Eligibility for travel assistance
There is an expectation that, wherever possible, children will be able to travel to and from school or college (by walking or parental transport) accompanied as necessary and it will be a parent’s responsibility to make such arrangements.
We understand that this may not always be possible or suitable and your child may be eligible for travel assistance if:
- They have a finalised EHCP naming the education provision you are seeking travel assistance to
- The named provision has been assessed as the nearest appropriate provision that can meet your child’s needs. Appropriate in this instance means that it is age appropriate (e.g., attendance at a primary or secondary school or college) and ability appropriate (attendance at a mainstream or specialist provision).
- The needs of your child are such that they are unable to access the named school or college without travel assistance, even if under the minimum statutory walking distance.
- In cases where the eligibility is not awarded on needs alone, the home to school or college distance is beyond the minimum statutory walking distance for your child’s age.
The minimum statutory walking distances, as defined by the Department for Education are:
- For children under 8 years old – living more than 2 miles from the school or college using the shortest available walking route
- For children 8 years and over - living more than 3 miles from the school or college using the shortest available walking route
In some exceptional circumstances (for example medical grounds beyond your child’s needs, parent medical grounds or your individual family circumstances) the Council may consider whether to award transport outside of the policy criteria. If you wish such circumstances to be considered, you need to provide supporting evidence (e.g., from a medical professional, etc) at the time of application.
Low-income families - You’re considered to be on a low income if your child is eligible for free school meals or if you receive the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit.
You can find out if you are currently receiving the full element of Working Tax Credit by checking if you have any reduction due to your income under part 2 of the Working Tax Credit section. If this states anything other than 0, you will not be entitled.
If you're a low-income family, your child may qualify for travel assistance if:
- They live between 2 and 6 miles from their school or college.
- The school or college is determined as one of their 3 nearest qualifying schools or colleges.
- If your child is attending a school or college as a result of it being your preferred school or college and it is further away than the school or college identified as the nearest appropriate school or college that can meet your child’s needs, there is no duty on the Council to provide travel assistance.
- Once your child has been assessed as eligible for travel assistance, 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 child’s placement changes or you move address, any travel assistance award will cease, and you would need to submit a new application. 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)
- The Council provide various types of travel assistance. These currently include transport on contracted vehicles or a parental mileage allowance or independent travel training. It will be at the discretion of the SEN Transport Team to decide the most suitable type of travel assistance based on your child’s needs.
- Solo/individual transport is only awarded in exceptional cases and only where the needs of the child dictate that such transport is required.
How to apply
You need to complete the online travel assistance application.
Once your application has been submitted, the Council will assess your child against the SEN Transport Policy and provide you with a decision within 20 working days.
Please note: our busiest time for transport applications is between July and September. This means that if you submit your application after 1 July, we cannot guarantee that you will have your decision within 20 working days or that any awarded travel assistance will be in place for the start of the academic year in September.
Two stage appeal process
If your child is assessed as not eligible to receive travel assistance or you believe that the travel assistance arrangements put in place are not suitable for your child’s need, you have the right of appeal against these decisions.
The Council operates a two-stage appeal process. The first stage is a review of your case by a member of the Admissions and Transport Management Team. If this is unsuccessful, you can proceed to the second stage, which is considered by an appeal panel independent of the transport decision making process. Details of the appeal process are in the SEN Transport Policy, or you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.