Transport for SEND children and young people

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

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.

Applications for transport support from students aged 16-18 with special educational needs are based on your individual circumstances.

We will seek advice from our special educational needs team and may need to seek further supporting information e.g. from a designated medical officer. If this is the case, we will write to the appropriate health authority.

We will inform you as soon as possible of the result of your application. If we approve your application for special transport, this will be arranged by integrated passenger transport and they will write to you with details of these arrangements.

Please refer to the POST 16 policy statement in the downloads section of this page.
 

Eligibility

We will consider transport assistance for young people aged 19-25 provided that:

  • the young person has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP);
  • the provision is an essential requirement to fulfil the learning outcomes identified in their EHCP;
  • the school / college / training provider offering the course is the nearest to the student's home address;
  • the school / college / training provider is more than three miles from the student's home by the nearest available walking route; and
  • the student is physically unable to walk, accompanied as necessary, if the distance is under three miles.

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 1/3 off adult fares for travel on the National Rail network in Great Britain. 
  • If you are travelling with another adult, they will also get 1/3 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.

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.