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Special educational needs - transport
Transport for children with special educational needs will be in line with the County Council's home to school transport policy. Transport may be provided for children who are unable to walk to school because of a disability or mobility problem, including temporary medical conditions. This will normally be considered following the issue of a statement of special educational needs.
Further details can be found in the frequently asked questions below, but in summary if your child is attending their "normal school" we will provide free home to school transport for primary aged pupils who live more than two miles from school and for secondary aged pupils who live more than three miles away. Additionally, if we find that the route to school is unsafe to walk, accompanied by a responsible adult as necessary we will provide suitable transport.
Our policy changed in September 2012. This means we no longer offer free transport to denominational schools or equivalent cost journeys to your preferred school.
"Normal school" means the school allocated by the local authority (LA) to take children from the area in which they live. This may also be referred to as "appropriate", "catchment" or "local" school.
In the case of pupils with a statement, this will be school that the LA considers can best meet a child's needs (ie the most suitable school). This may be the local school or a special school.
We will provide transport to a special school if we agree that the school is the one that best meets your child's needs and it is over the statutory walking distance. If you prefer your child to go to a different special school, you will normally be responsible for transport arrangements and costs.
We will review transport needs when your child transfers from primary to secondary school or on an annual basis, if they have special transport requirements.
Residential special schools
If your child goes to a residential special school that the LA considers to be the school that can best meet the child's needs, we will provide free transport or a transport allowance in line with arrangements made with the school.
For post-16 pupils placed by the LA at a residential school or college outside of the further and higher education sectors the help offered will be up to 12 return journeys a year for students and their parents or carers, usually at a pre-determined mileage rate.
Applications for transport assistance from students with special needs are considered on an individual basis and will not normally be considered for someone over the age of 19.
Further information can be found here or in the frequently asked questions below.
Special schools transport reviews
The Council is responsible for organising transport services in the most efficient way possible in line with its policies and financial regulations. Transport is reviewed regularly, staff in integrated passenger transport work closely with school staff and special educational needs officers to consider individual children's needs when planning new routes. Where contracts are reviewed, parents will be informed in writing and given the chance to comment on new proposals. Arrangements are usually reviewed every two years.
Independent travel training scheme
Pupils in full time education who have special educational needs could receive independent travel training (ITT) as part of their individual education plan.
When we design the travel training programme we look at individual needs, abilities and past experiences. Future plans, such as starting at a new school or college will be taken into account when planning which journeys are to be practiced.
Our aim is for children and young people to become independent travellers. Training will include road safety, landmark recognition, decision making and awareness of other road users. The next stage would be learning to use public transport independently, including: route planning, handling money, using timetables and being a considerate traveller. In addition, a key skill will be how to problem solve should things go wrong. Throughout the process there will be a continual assessment of the individual and the programme will be adjusted if necessary.
Referrals for the local authority's ITT scheme can be made by special educational needs officers or the client transport officer. Referrals may be made following a meeting at school (eg annual review), a meeting with parents or following a transport appeal.
Who do I contact?
If your child has a statement please contact the Special educational needs administration team. If your child has a special transport need but does not have a statement please contact the transport team at the education office, Harrogate.
SEN transport - frequently asked questions