Transport for SEND children and young people

Find out what transport support is available for children and young people with special educational needs.

Review of the home to school transport policy

The home to school transport policy was reviewed following a consultation and approved by the County Council on 16 May 2018.

View the updated  Home to School Transport statement (pdf / 1 MB) along with the  2018-19 Post 16 transport policy statement (pdf / 500 KB).


Children and young people with special educational needs may get help with transport to school or college. Blue badges for parking are also available.

A door-to-door service is provided only in specific circumstances. Children may have to travel to their nearest pick up point.

In general terms, if your child is attending his or her "normal" school - the school allocated by the local authority - we will provide free home-to-school transport for pupils up to the age of eight who live more than two miles away, and for pupils aged eight and above who live more than three miles away. If the route to school is unsafe to walk, accompanied as necessary, we will provide suitable transport.

In the case of pupils with an education health and care plan (EHCP), the "normal" school will be the one we think best meets a child's needs, which 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 nearest 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.

The arrangements are reviewed usually every two years. Sometimes, contracts change more regularly or at very short notice for reasons beyond our control and this may mean a change of operator. We will notify you of these changes, giving as much notice as possible.

Transport programmes and support

Students will receive travel assistance which will meets their needs, as identified by the local authority, in line with the Education Act and statutory guidance.

Travel Arrangement should be environmental, encourage well-being, and be the most economical for the local authority.

Travel arrangement will be the identified as the first appropriate provision able to meet the child need, starting with walking route and cycling training, followed by utilising school or existing services (school buses, local buses or shared taxis). If no shared provision is available then financial assistance will be granted in the form of a parental transport allowance. Individual commissioned transport will only be provided in exceptional circumstances.

Students will be expected to make their own way to the nearest transport pick-up point, accompanied as necessary.

From September 2018, post 16 young people with an Education Health and Care Plan, (EHCP) starting a further education course will be required to pay a contribution towards the cost of transport arrangements, the charge is in line with all post 16 students. This will be reduced by 50% for low income parents that meet the qualifying criteria or waived if they meet the exemption criteria.

All applications for transport assistance from students aged 16 to 18 with special educational needs are assessed against the post 16 transport eligibility criteria.

Please refer to the post-16 policy statement in the useful downloads section of this page.

The council encourages learners aged 16 plus to travel independently on education transport services or public transport where applicable to enable students to develop the skills for successful transition into adulthood.

Additional transport support for SEND pupils

Some students with an EHCP may require a further assessment of their individual needs and abilities to establish any specific needs and the level of transport assistance required. On receipt of a post 16 application form additional information will be requested and considered by the SEND Transport Manager.

Where additional assistance is approved and the payment of the contribution arranged, transport will be set up by Integrated Passenger Transport (IPT) who will contact you regarding the arrangements.

When specialist transport assistance is approved this maybe for a short term period and is subject to review.

When a student with an Education, Health and Care Plan, who is above the age of 19 and below the age of 25 years, starts a new course of education, an additional assessment is made (reflecting the County Council’s obligations under both the Care Act 2014 and the Education Act 1996, s 508F) to determine whether it is necessary for the council (rather than the student or family) to make their own travel arrangements. We will consider:

  • What other arrangements you have considered or tried and why they are not suitable.
  • If there is a family member or carer who is able to transport the student and why it would not be a reasonable arrangement to make.
  • If the student is in receipt of higher rate mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance, the purpose of which is to assist those who have mobility problems, with severe difficulty walking or who need help getting around outside. We would expect this benefit to be fully utilised to meet their transport needs and this includes transport to their educational or training placement if there are any factors limiting its use you should provide details of them.
  • The student’s age, ability, aptitudes and SEND.
  • Quality of education or training and locations and times of provision.
  • If there is a motability vehicle available to the student. If a decision has been made not to use the motability vehicle to support the student to reach their education placement, we would normally expect the carer or student to make their own appropriate alternative arrangements, or provide details as to why that is not possible or reasonable.
  • Any other exceptional circumstances that you consider need to be taken into account, and any recent supporting evidence that you provide.

We would not generally consider work or childcare commitments as an exceptional reason for travel assistance to be provided.

Based on the assessment if the student has alternative means to support transport to educational provision the local authority is unlikely to provide travel assistance.

However if the assessment identifies that a student does not have any other way of getting to the educational provision the local authority will provide travel assistance free of charge.

Students undertaking a work based learning programme such as an apprenticeship or supported internship would need to apply for Access to Work funding to support their transport needs.

The blue badge scheme provides parking concessions to disabled people with mobility problems. You may be eligible if you're a parent of a child under three who has a specific medical condition that means they must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment which is very difficult to carry, or need to be kept near a vehicle at all times to get emergency treatment when necessary. See the blue badge page for more details and how to apply.

Disabled people are entitled to a bus pass giving free off-peak travel on local bus services anywhere in England. Visit our bus pass page to learn about eligibility and to apply for a pass online. 

If you have a disability that makes travelling by train difficult, you may qualify for a disabled person's railcard.

Benefits

  • Get a third off adult fares for travel on the National Rail network in Great Britain. 
  • If you are travelling with another adult, they will also get a third off their rail fare, so you can save money for a friend or family member too.
  • There are no time restrictions on the railcard, so you can use it to get a discount on tickets at any time of the day.

For information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the disabled person's railcard website.

Students in full-time education who have special educational needs could receive independent travel training as part of their individual education plan.

Our aim is for children and young people to become independent travellers. We are currently developing travel training guides for professionals, schools and parents and will run a series of training events throughout the year. Training will include road safety, landmark recognition, decision making and awareness of other road users, route planning, handling money, using timetables and being a considerate traveller.

Details of the training guide and dates for workshops will be displayed on this page in the coming months.

We expect that parents and carers of young people who are due to move into further education will continue to practice independent travel throughout the summer holidays prior to starting any study programme.

Transport frequently asked questions

​​​​​​If your child has a statement of special needs, 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 a statement 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.

A reasonable walking distance means any distance up to the statutory walking distance of three miles for secondary age pupils and up to two miles for primary age pupils.

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.

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 remeasured and found to be under the qualifying distance, free home to school transport will be withdrawn with a full terms notice.

Free transport will not be provided for children admitted early to primary schools i.e. before the term in which they are five, or if children are attending local authority maintained nursery schools/units.

If they will eventually become eligible for free transport in the term in which they are five then children may travel free on existing hired transport if they live more than two miles from home to school, providing space is available on the vehicle. This arrangement may be cancelled if subsequently the seat is needed for children of compulsory school age who are eligible for free transport. Please see spare seat section in the home to school transport policy.

Transport is not provided to children attending private nurseries or playgroups.

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.

Yes. You will be notified in advance and there will be an opportunity for you to meet the driver and escort at a time which suits you.