Personal Travel Budgets will help you to arrange your child's home to school travel arrangements in a way that suits your personal circumstances.
A Personal Travel Budget (PTB) is provided to parents or carers of children with Special Education Needs (SEN) who are eligible for travel assistance. It allows families to make flexible arrangements, monitor the quality of their child's transport directly or they could work with other families to achieve the best possible travel arrangements for their children.
What are the benefits of personal travel budgets?
- It provides freedom and flexibility for your family to choose the most appropriate travel arrangements for your child that best fit with your personal circumstances.
- It provides choice and control over how funding is used to get your child to and from school on time in a way that suits you, your child and your family.
- It ensures resources are distributed in a fair way according to need.
- It allows you to explore opportunities to share with other parents and potentially increase your buying power.
- It offers families an alternative to the traditional services that the city council can provide.
How much will my Personal Travel Budget be?
The PTB is calculated based on the distance between home and school for the days that your child attends school. This means each PTB will be tailored to the needs of each family.
Please contact Children's Services on 0191 0191 2774646 between 8.30am 4.30pm, Monday to Friday for details of how much families may be eligible for. If you prefer you can email SENTransport@newcastle.gov.uk
Who can get a Personal Travel Budget?
You can get a PTB if your child is eligible for travel assistance from the city council. Additionally, when deciding to offer a PTB, we would look at your child's attendance record at school. You may be refused a PTB if your child's attendance is currently below 80% (this means 64 half day sessions or 32 full days in a school year).
How do I get a Personal Travel Budget?
If children are eligible for travel assistance families will be eligible for a PTB so long as attendance is above 80%. If you are unsure about eligibility then please contact us. Based on the information that we know about children's current travel requirements, the SEN Team will calculate a PTB.
If you decide to take up a PTB we will ask you to sign an agreement letter. This sets out your role and the council's role in the PTB process to keep your child safe and ensure that their attendance and ability to learn are not negatively affected by their travel to and from school. The city council would then make the arrangements to transfer the PTB to your bank account.
You will then be free to arrange and manage your child's travel arrangements in a way that best suits you, your child and your family. If your circumstances change, for example your family moves house, the PTB may need to be re-calculated.
What can the Personal Travel Budget be spent on?
Parents can spend the PTB how they like, as long as children get to and from school on time and in a way that ensures their safety, encourages their attendance and does not negatively affect their ability to learn once they are at school.
Some ideas for spending the PTB include:
- Purchasing a travel pass for yourself or a trusted adult to accompany your child on public transport
- Paying for an escort for your child to walk to school or to travel by public transport, or arrange to do this yourself
- Covering the cost of driving or cycling with your child to school
- Arranging shared travel arrangements with other parents, such as shared driving responsibilities, walking buses or joint taxi bookings
- Overcoming barriers that may prevent you accompanying your child to school, for example travel or childcare arrangements for siblings
How will the PTB get paid?
Payments would be made from the council into the parents' designated bank account on a monthly basis. The parent would need to provide us with the appropriate bank details when they sign the agreement.
Am I totally committed? Can I stop the Personal Travel Budget if it doesn't work out?
PTBs are voluntary. Parents can stop their PTB if your circumstances change substantially but we will need a week's notice to arrange alternative forms of travel assistance. We can also help with advice on how to use the PTB or the PTB can be adjusted if needs or circumstances change. We want to make PTBs work for families.
The school and city council are committed to providing the best and most appropriate travel assistance for families. In the future, if the circumstances are right, other forms of Travel Assistance may be more appropriate for children such as Independent Travel. If children are assessed as being ready to learn to travel independently then our dedicated team would work with families to ensure a smooth transition takes place where appropriate.
Will it have an impact on other benefits?
No. Personal Travel Budgets have no impact on any other benefits.
Will the PTB continue in future years?
As children grow older, it's likely they will wish to become independent travellers. Independent travel is an important life skill and can help children to access the social and employment opportunities they wish to. You can start supporting or training your child to travel independently, or you can talk to your school about Independent Travel Training.
Will parents regularly need to show the city council how the budget is being spent?
No. We want to keep the flexibility and control with parents, and we will keep monitoring to a minimum. We will pick up any potential issues through the school's recording of the child's attendance and fitness to learn once at school.