There is statutory guidance about home to school travel and transport from the Department of Education to all Local Authorities. This means that Local Authorities must consider it when making decisions.
The guidance outlines that Local Authorities must make transport arrangements for all “eligible” children of compulsory school ages (5 – 16 years) who travel to receive education or training in the Local Authority area.
There are four categories of eligible children –
Those who’s nearest suitable school is over 2 miles from their home (if aged 5 – 16 years) or more than 3 miles (if aged 8 to 16 years).
SEN, disabilities and mobility problems
Those who have special educational needs, a disability or mobility problems who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school due to their mobility or health and safety issues related to their special educational needs or disability. Each child is assessed on an individual basis to identify their transport requirements and the Local Authority needs to consider if the child could be reasonably expected to walk if they were accompanied by another person and if the child’s parent can be reasonably expected to accompany the child. Usual transport requirements (e.g. statutory walking distances) should not be considered when assessing the transport needs of children eligible due to SEND.
Those who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to nearest suitable school because the route is deemed unsafe.
Extended rights eligibility
The extended rights eligibility is where a pupil is entitled to free school meals or their parents are in receipt of maximum working tax credit and one of the following applies:
- The nearest suitable school is beyond 2 miles (for children over aged 8 and under 11)
- The school is between 2 and 6 miles (if aged 11 – 16 and there are not three or more suitable nearer schools)
- The school is between 2 and 15 miles and is the nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief (aged 11-16)
The home to school travel and transport guidance says:
Transport arrangement should not require a child to make several changes on public transport resulting in an unreasonably long journey time.
The amount of time considered the maximum for each way length of a journey of primary school age is children is 45 minutes and 75 minutes for secondary school age children.
For children with SEN and or disabilities, journeys may be complex however, short journey times may not always be possible.
For arrangements to be considered “suitable”, they must also be safe and reasonably stress free, to enable the child to arrive at school ready for a day of study.
Schools are expected to promote appropriate standards of behaviour by pupils on their journeys to and from school using rewards for good behaviour and sanctions for poor behaviour.
Local authorities should have complaints and appeal procedures for parents to follow should they want to make a complaint about the service, or wish to appeal a decision about the eligibility of their child for travel support.
Where can I get more information?
You can read North East Lincolnshire’s SEND home to school transport policy
You can also read the Department for Education Home to School Travel and Transport Statutory Guidance.
You can also ask SENDIASS who can you provide you with further information, advice and support about home to school transport