Am I entitled to free school travel assistance?
Generally, pupils in classes reception to year 11 are entitled to free school travel assistance if they attend the nearest or catchment area school to their home address and meet the eligibility criteria. For pupils aged 7 or below, you must live over two miles from the school. Or pupils aged 8 and above, you must live over three miles from the school. This is measured by the nearest available route (shortest walking distance).
There are exceptional circumstances - view the Travel Assistance Policies.
The policy for travel assistance for post 16 education and training is different from that for students of compulsory school age. Download the travel assistance policy.
Travel assistance for children with special educational needs, disabilities and mobility problems
The following eligibility criteria is applied:
- where the child cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school (accompanied by a parent/carer as necessary and considering the age of the child, as well as whether one would normally expect a child of that age to be accompanied) because of mobility problems or because of associated health and safety issues related to their Special Educational Needs (SEN) or Disability, we will review and assess each child on an individual basis. Usual travel requirements (E.g. the statutory walking distances) may not be considered when assessing the travel needs of children eligible due to SEN and/ or disability
- the pupil must be attending the nearest qualifying school or a setting named on his or her Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), following formal consultation by the SEN team, rather than a setting named due to parental preference
- where a pre-school child with an EHCP has been placed at a nursery, special school or other specialist provision by the Council, travel assistance may be provided in the same way as for children of statutory school age but a charge will be made. The charge will follow the same charging approach set out in the Post 16 Policy’s non statutory charge
- when applying for travel assistance, parents and carers of children with SEN and mobility issues, are asked to complete a comprehensive online questionnaire which collects information to help officers make an informed decision about the application. This questionnaire asks for detailed information about the child’s health, abilities with regards travel and interventions should the child not be happy at any stage during their travel. Please complete this form with as much detail as possible.
- The policy for travel assistance for post 16 education and training is different from that for students of compulsory school age. View the Travel Assistance Policies.
- Please be aware that in line with the Post 16 travel assistance policy you will be requested to pay a contribution of £600 per annum. If on a low income this charge can be reduced to £400 per annum.
I have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), do I automatically qualify for free school travel?
No. Having an EHCP or attending a special school or unit does not automatically result in the provision of free travel. Please refer to the question above and the Travel Assistance policy for further guidance.
The policy for travel assistance for post 16 education and training is different from that for students of compulsory school age. View the Travel Assistance Policies.
How do you apply for assisted school travel?
You can apply for assisted school travel using the online application. A decision will be made within 20 working days. Please allow us this time before chasing your application outcome.
What information do I need to put on my Travel Assistance application?
When you apply be sure to include all grounds that you feel you can apply on in your request to the council, it is essential that we have the full details of your situation in order to consider the application.
What if I am not eligible, what other travel can I access?
As a Local authorities we have a duty to promote the use of sustainable travel on journeys to and from places of education in our area.
Sustainable travel benefits children and everyone around them by helping people keep healthy, improving mental wellbeing, easing congestion and reducing toxins in the air. We are promoting sustainable travel by utilising the public bus network and promoting active travel – walking, wheeling, cycling and scooting.
Telford and Wrekin has an expansive public bus network with many routes being designed for school transport. View the timetable and map for the service.
I think I need to appeal, what do I do?
Details of how to appeal will be contained in your decline letter. When you make the appeal be sure to include all grounds that you feel you can appeal on in your request to the council, it is essential that we have the full details of your situation in order to consider the appeal.
What type of travel assistance will I receive?
Should your child be eligible for travel assistance and they are in classes reception to year 11 this will be offered in the priority order listed below. We will determine which type of travel assistance we can offer based on undertaking a risk assessment and the best use of available resources. Once travel assistance is in place we may change the type of help provided to make the best use of available resources at that time.
- Independent Travel Training - Access to Independent Travel Training is provided alongside a training programme to enable the child or young person to travel independently over a period of time.
- Escorted walking / ‘walking-bus’ or cycling.
- Public travel (bus pass).
- Personal Travel Budget (PTB).
- A funded travel pass to occupy a seat on a mini bus, coach or taxi. Including the use of group pick up points where appropriate.
- In the case of children with special education needs, disabilities and mobility problems, we will review your application form to determine the support your child may need. Where necessary, we will provide a specialist vehicle (for example, a vehicle that is able to accommodate a wheelchair). Where necessary, we will also provide passenger assistants.
Post 16 students
For post 16 education and training decisions regarding what assistance is required will be based on enabling independence and the best use of the Council resources. The policy for travel assistance for post 16 education and training is different from that for students of compulsory school age and therefore can be found on the Council’s website. View the post 16 Travel Assistance Policy.
For post 16 you will be required to pay a contribution as per the parental contribution policy. View the post 16 Travel Assistance Policy.
Where students meet eligibility, the Council will award travel assistance that enables independence and is the most economical mode of travel assistance. A contribution of £600 per academic year from students or their parents is required towards the cost of travel assistance. The charge will be £400 per academic year, if a financially dependent student, is from a low income household which is defined as:
- families in receipt of Income Support
- families in receipt of Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IB JSA)
- families who receive Child Tax Credit and have an annual income below the relevant threshold
- families who receive Employment and Support Allowance (Income related)
- families who receive The Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit
- families who receive support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- families in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit
- families in receipt of benefits that supersede those listed above.
Students will be invoiced for their contribution at the start of the academic year. Payment plans can be made available for students who require this.
Students in receipt of a 16 - 19 Bursary will be expected to use the award towards travel assistance costs.
If I receive a notification to say that I am eligible for travel assistance, how long after that notification will it take to get a travel assistance in place?
- For applications requesting travel assistance during the academic year - We will endeavour to get travel assistance in place as soon as possible, timescales will vary depending on the type of travel assistance. We will be in contact with you within 5 working days to undertake a risk assessment prior to any assistance being put in place, the risk assessment requires detailed information about the child’s health and abilities with regards travel. It can take up to 20 days to put travel assistance in place so, you must organise you own travel assistance during this time. Please allow us this time before chasing the travel assistance progress.
- For applications requesting travel assistance for the new academic year - We will be in contact with you within 30 working days to undertake a risk assessment prior to any assistance being arranged, the risk assessment requires detailed information about the child’s health and abilities with regards travel. We will be in touch before the 31 of August (or sooner) to confirm the travel arrangements. Please allow us this time before chasing the travel assistance progress.
If my travel assistance is via taxi, minibus or coach, will I be able to meet the travel provider?
The provider will complete a ‘meet and greet’ with you and your child a few days prior to the travel commencing. At the ‘meet and greet’ the provider shall notify you of pickup times then. This is an estimated time and as the run settles, it will become more consistent.
If my travel assistance is via taxi, minibus or coach, am I able to choose the travel provider?
No, travel can only be provided by operators on our approved Dynamic Purchasing list. Each contract is awarded following a competitive tendering exercise.
If my travel assistance is via taxi, minibus or coach, what do I need to do?
- Be at home within 10 minutes of the school finishing time. If you cannot be at home, please arrange for a suitable adult (over 18) to be at the property to collect the student. The Travel Assistance team must be informed on 01952 384545 if someone other than the parents/carer are collecting the student and a password must be given to ensure the safety of the student.
- The staff members on the vehicle have been instructed to hand over the student to the responsible adult. They should not leave the vehicle so parent/carer must ensure they bring the student to the vehicle and collect them from the vehicle in the afternoon.
- Be ready for collection - the vehicle will wait a maximum of 5 minutes and then depart. Students should be ready to board the bus as soon as it arrives to reduce the amount of time passengers have to be on the vehicle.
- Cancel the travel if it is not required. We are still charged 100% for journeys that arrive and students that did not get in to the vehicle for 2020-2021 “no shows” cost Telford and Wrekin Council approximately £16,000.
Rules whilst travelling:
- no eating or drinking whilst on the vehicle
- all passengers must wear their seatbelt
- follow the instructions given by the staff members on the vehicle.
We will ask during the risk assessment if your child travels in a wheelchair. The most important factor in this assessment is that the wheelchair meets ISO 7176-19 crash testing so that the wheelchair can be safely secured and traveled and that the wheel chair has a lap strap and foot plates. The wheelchair will be tagged and entered on to the Wheelchair Passport Scheme to show it is safe for travel. If a wheelchair is changed then you need to notify the Travel Assistance team on 01952 384545. Your child can only travel in a wheelchair that has been passed.
We provide travel for the beginning and end of the school day according to the student’s timetable, and therefore don’t travel students in the following circumstances:
- transporting a student home early due to sickness
- transporting at different times due to school trips or after school activities
- if a student ‘no shows’ and the vehicle has waited 5 minutes, then we will not be able to send out a second vehicle or ask the vehicle to return and collect
- transporting a student home later due to detentions.
If the student is a ‘no show’ then the provider will automatically cancel the afternoon travel. When a student ‘no shows’ it is the parent/carers responsibility to ensure the student attends school. If the afternoon travel is required after being a ‘no show’ you will need to contact the Travel Assistance team on 01952 384545 to reinstate travel.
What standard of behaviour do you expect on School Travel?
We expect parents and schools to promote good standards of behaviour by children on their journey to and from school through rewarding positive behaviour and using sanctions to address poor behaviour. The Education and Inspections Act 2006 empowers head teachers to take action to address unacceptable behaviour even when this takes place outside the school premises and when their pupils are not under the legal control of the school, but when it is reasonable to do so. We also take this to mean behaviour on school buses, or taxis on the route to and from school, whether or not their pupils are in school uniform.
In certain situations, where there is serious and/or consistent behavioural issues in council provided travel, we will consider withdrawing travel assistance until the situation is resolved with parents/carers working with us, the school and the travel provider to resolve the situation.
What do I need to do if my address is changing?
A new application form will need to be filled in. If you know you are moving in advance, please let us know as soon as possible.
Do I need to apply for travel assistance each year?
If you have been approved under low income, exceptional circumstances, or the student is over the age of 16, please ensure you reapply before the 30 June every academic year. If you are a school leaver moving into a new education placement, please ensure you apply by this deadline. If you do not, then travel assistance is not guaranteed to commence in time for the new academic year.
If any contact details on my application form need to change, who do I notify?
Please email the travel team at email@example.com to notify us of any changes.
If a pupil attends after-school activities on certain days of the week can they still use the travel assistance to get home?
No, the bus pass, taxi, coach or minibus is normally issued to enable the pupil to travel into school at the beginning of the school day, and to travel home at the end of the official school day.
Will my child receive door-to-door travel?
Existing travel networks already provide buses or cars from near most homes. The pickup point will be within a reasonable distance of the home. Door-to-door travel is not normally provided.
What happens if my child loses their bus pass?
If your child loses their bus, a replacement pass can be obtained by contacting us using the contact details on this page. Please note: that there is a charge for replacement bus passes.
Last updated: 10/07/2023 15:41