Bexley SEND IASS, Civic Offices, 2 Watling Street, Bexleyheath, DA6 7AT

Transport

Some children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities ( SEND) may need support to travel to school or college. All local authorities have a statutory duty to provide travel assistance for all eligible children aged between 5-16 years.

What does the Law say?

The government has issued statutory guidance called Home-to-school travel and transport 2014.

Local Authorities must have regard to this when carrying out their duties on home to school travel and transport.

Under section 508A of the Education Act 1996 local authorities must also promote the use of sustainable travel and transport for all children and young people of compulsory school age who travel to receive education in the local authority’s area.

Under section 508B and Schedule 35B of the Education Act 1996 local authorities are under a duty to provide free school transport to “eligible children”. 

Who is entitled to free school transport?

The child must be of compulsory school age (5—16) attending a qualifying school and must fulfil one of the following criteria:

  • The child is living outside of the statutory walking distance of the nearest suitable qualifying school.
  • For children aged over 5 but under the age of 8 the statutory walking distance is 2 miles. 
  • For children aged over the age of 8 and under 16 the statutory walking distance is 3 miles. 
  • The statutory distance is measured by the shortest route along which a child, accompanied if necessary, may walk safely.
  • A suitable school is defined as the nearest qualifying school with places available that provides education appropriate to the age, ability and aptitude of the child and considering any SEN the child may have.
  • A child’s home is defined as the place where he/she is habitually and normally resident.
  • The child cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their mobility problems or other health and safety concerns related to their SEN or disability
  • This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • The local authority will consider whether the child could reasonably be expected to walk if accompanied and whether the child’s parent can reasonably be expected to accompany the child.
  • The child cannot reasonably be expected to walk the route to school because the nature of the route is unsafe to walk
  • The local authority will consider whether the child could reasonably be expected to walk if accompanied and whether the child’s parent can reasonably be expected to accompany the child.
  • The child is entitled to free school meals or their parents are in receipt of maximum Working Tax Credit
  • The nearest suitable school is beyond 2 miles (for children aged 8-11); or
  • The school is between 2-6 miles and there are not three or more suitable nearer schools (for children aged 11-16). The distance is to be measured by vehicle routes; or
  • The school is between 2-15 miles and is the nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief (for children aged 11-16). The distance is to be measured by vehicle routes. Religion or belief includes a lack of religion or belief and so also applies to an atheist parent’s wish for their child to attend a non-faith school.

What is a qualifying school?

A qualifying school includes: 

  • community, foundation or voluntary schools
  • community or foundation special schools
  • non-maintained special schools
  • pupil referral units
  • maintained nursery schools or 
  • city technology colleges (CTC), city colleges for the technology of the arts (CCTA) or academies, including free schools and University Technical Colleges (UTC).

It will also include an independent school if named on the EHCP.

What is suitable transport?

To be suitable, the transport must enable an eligible child to reach school without such stress, strain or difficulty that they would be prevented from benefitting from the education provided. It must allow the child to travel in reasonable safety and in reasonable comfort.

 Best practice suggests that a child of primary school age should not travel for longer than 45 minutes and a child of secondary school age should not travel for more than 75 minutes. 

Local authorities should also consider the walking distance to access public transport.

The local authority can:

  • Provide expenses e.g. refund travel costs to parents
  • Fund public transport e.g. through a season ticket
  • Provide school buses
  • Provide taxis or minibuses
  • Provide escorts to walk children to school.

Applying for Transport

For information on how to apply in Bexley please click HERE 

There is a right of appeal if the local authority refuses transport for your child.

The government has issued recommendations of how a transport appeals process should operate in practice, local authorities do not have to adopt this structure but it is good practice to. The guidance recommends a two stage process for any complaints relating to:

  • The transport arrangements offered
  • Their child’s eligibility
  • The measurement of statutory walking distances
  • The safety of the route. 

For information on how to appeal a transport decision in Bexley please click HERE 

Transport for young people aged 16-19

Young people are required to stay in education or training for a further year after compulsory school leaving age, and this extends to the age of 19.

  • If a young person began the course they are studying at school or college before their 19th birthday, they remain of sixth form age until they complete that course.

 

The government has issued statutory guidance on Post-16 transport to education and training 2014 which local authorities must have regard to when carrying out their responsibilities. 

Local authorities have discretion to determine transport in their area and must publish their policies on this. The local authority must consider individual circumstances before reaching a decision. As they do not have to provide free transport, the offer might include part-funded travel (such as a bus pass/travel card), and/or might include travel training. 

All local authorities must have regard to:

  • The needs of those who could not otherwise access education or training and in particular those not in education, employment or training (NEET), young parents and those living in rural areas.
  • The young person having reasonable choice between education options.
  • The distance between home and the education establishment.
  • The journey time.
  • The journey costs
  • The needs of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. 

For information on Post 16 transport in Bexley please click HERE

 

Transport for young people aged 19-25

The post-16 guidance Post-16 transport to education and training 2014 applies up until the age of 25.

The key difference to this age category is that, where the local authority considers it necessary for the young person to be enabled to attend their setting, they must provide this free of charge

The statutory government guidance to support Adult learners. (aged19+) states:

  • the local authority is required to make such arrangements for the provision of transport as they consider necessary in respect of:

(a) adults (i.e. those who are aged 19 or over)… and

(b) relevant young adults with an EHC plan (…up until the age of 25) 

Where the local authority makes such arrangements, any transport provided must be free of charge. Where the local authority decides not to provide transport arrangements in a particular case, they still have discretion to pay all or part of the reasonable travelling expenses for the student. 

Appealing the decision

There is a right of appeal if the local authority refuses transport for your child.

The government has issued recommendations of how a transport appeals process should operate in practice, local authorities do not have to adopt this structure but it is good practice to. The guidance recommends a two stage process for any complaints relating to:

  • The transport arrangements offered
  • Their child’s eligibility
  • The measurement of statutory walking distances
  • The safety of the route. 

For information on how to appeal a transport decision in Bexley please click HERE 

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