SEND transport - frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions and answers about SEND transport in North Yorkshire.

What if my child cannot walk?

If your child has an education, health and care plan (EHCP), this will normally be picked up through your child's statutory assessment and then considered annually as part of the review process.

If your child does not have an education, health and care plan (EHCP) and is unable to walk due to a medical condition, you must provide written medical evidence. If the information given indicates this is not a permanent condition we will review it on an annual basis (or more frequently, if necessary) and will ask you to provide additional information when we review it.

What is considered to be a reasonable travelling distance and travelling time?

A reasonable walking distance means any distance up to the statutory walking distance of three miles for pupils over the age of 8 and up to two miles for pupils under 8 years old.

A reasonable travelling time by public transport means a journey of not more than an hour and a quarter each way for secondary age pupils and 45 minutes each way for primary age pupils. These times may be extended in some exceptional circumstances.

The travelling times may differ for pupils attending special schools, due to the small number of schools across the authority.

How do you measure the minimum home to school travelling distance?  

When deciding on eligibility for assistance with transport, the measurement from home to school will be taken from the boundary of the home to the nearest entrance gate (not always the main entrance) to the school, following the nearest available walked route which can mean a suitable footpath or bridle-path. Where a private road or farm track exists this is included in the measurement.

This means that in some cases pupils living in the same street or even in adjoining properties may not all be eligible for free home to school transport.

When deciding on eligibility for children in receipt of free school meals or if parents receive their maximum level of working tax credit routes of two miles or less will be measured as a walked route, using footpaths or bridle ways. Routes over two miles will be measured along road routes. This only applies to children if they are in receipt of free school meals or if parents receive their maximum level of working tax credit.

The term 'home' in this policy means the permanent address where the child lives for most of the time. Where children have more than one 'home' (i.e. parents or guardians live separately) eligibility will only be assessed from separate addresses when children live with each parent or guardian for fifty percent of the school term time, this does not include weekends or holidays.

Please be aware that routes from home to school are regularly reviewed by the local authority to incorporate newly identified routes into the electronic mapping system used for measuring. If a route from home to school is re-measured, and found to be under the qualifying distance, free home to school transport will be withdrawn with a full terms notice.

What is the transport policy for children attending school or nursery before they turn five?

The statutory duty is from the term following the child's fifth birthday.

In North Yorkshire, we extend that duty to cover all of reception year.

Transport assistance, is not provided to children attending nurseries or playgroups, including nursery provision in special school or primary school in which your child will be receiving statutory education in the future.

Will you provide a passenger assistant?

We do not normally provide passenger assistants for children of statutory school age, unless your child has special medical or behavioural needs that mean it is unsafe for them, or the other people in the vehicle, to travel without one.

If your child has special medical needs, we will require a health care plan to be in place before we can transport your child.

If your child need medical intervention on transport following the receipt of the health care plan, this will delay the transport by around 12 weeks, whilst a member of staff is recruited and trained, to provide the support required.

Will we meet the driver before the first journey to school?

If you are receiving transport via special educational needs transport process, we will request that there is an opportunity for you to meet the driver and escort at a time which suits you, before the first journey starts.

Will we have the same driver and assistance throughout my child's time at school?

Transport will change throughout your child's time in school. We complete full school reviews every 2-3 years in which we must redesign and re-tender all routes to the school. This is to ensure we are been as environmentally friendly as possible, reducing the number of vehicles used where possible, opting for minibuses to carry more pupils instead of multiple cars. We need to ensure we are efficient, so looking at which pupils have left since the last review, and which pupils have started and is the route the most effective. We also must ensure that we are receiving value for money in line with all public spending.

At times throughout the contract, changes will occur, including adding or removing pupils. This is done in partnership with the school but we may not be able to provide parents with sufficient notice when this occurs. We understand that it can be difficult for a child or young person to manage a change, but we will work with school, parents and operators to manage this change the best we can.