Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND) Travel Support
This section provides information about home to school travel support for pupils with Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND) or a medical need.
Parents and carers are responsible for ensuring children and young people get safely to school on time. This is true for learners with SEND many of whom travel to school without additional support from the Local Authority. In exceptional circumstances, some families will need additional support for an agreed period.
For a child or young person to access SEND Travel Assistance/ Transport they will need to meet the following criteria.
The young person is accessing a specialist educational setting that has been agreed by the Local Authority as the closest setting to meet the young person’s needs.
The young person has a physical disability that would prevent him/her from making the usual type of accompanied journey
The young person has a disability leading to significant social and/or emotional immaturity such that their behaviour leaves them extremely vulnerable in social settings, that would prevent him/her from making the usual type of accompanied journey.
An Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, or attendance at a special school or Additionally Resourced Centre (ARC) does not guarantee travel or transport assistance. The pupil's individual needs will determine the entitlement, rather than whether an EHC Plan is in place.
Parents have a right in law to state a preference for a school for their children, but that does not carry with it a right to free transport.
If parents/carers would like to apply for travel assistance to help get their child/young person to and from their educational placement please complete the Application Form for Home to School Travel Support for Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) or to request a paper copy email SENDTravelSupportApplicationForms@newcastle.gov.uk. Please note we aim to make transport arrangements as soon as they are needed however this can often take up to 10 working days. However, during the pandemic, despite our best endeavours this period may be longer.
If your assistance with travel application is declined you have the right to appeal the decision using the SEND Transport appeal process (pdf 95kb).
SEND Transport is intended to facilitate attendance at school and is not intended to cover any travel between educational institutions during the school day; or any travel to and from social or child care arrangements or at other times. It is the responsibility of parents to make any such arrangements.
It is the responsibility of the parent or carer to ensure that their child gets to and from school at the required time each day, and to accompany them if necessary. A parent or carer’s social or work commitments are not a consideration when considering eligibility for free school travel.
Home, for the purposes of establishing entitlement to free school travel, is the permanent address at which the pupil lives with a person who has parental responsibility. It is not the address of a relative or child-minder. Where there is joint residency, the address used is the one the child lives at most of the time. If a child spends time equally with both parents, then it will be the address which is closest to the school. In the event of a dispute the address of the person in receipt of child benefit will be used to assess entitlement.
Our policy only applies to pupils living in Newcastle.
If a pupil is in receipt of free travel and moves to another address, the child’s entitlement will be reassessed using the policy in place at the time of the move. Eligibility may change in these circumstances.
We do not provide free travel where families move to a new house and wish their child to remain at their current school, if there is a closer suitable school to the new address with available places.
There is no sibling link in the home to school travel policy, nor do we take account of feeder school arrangements.
Children in the care of the local authority are assessed under the normal terms of this policy.
Behaviour on transport that endangers other pupils, the driver or other passengers will not be tolerated. Transport operators and the local authority will withdraw travel support in the case of serious or persistent poor behaviour for either a fixed period or on a permanent basis.
Parent carers need to ensure that in their dealings with drivers, travel escorts and SEND travel support staff they remain calm and courteous. Any threatening or aggressive behaviour towards staff is taken very seriously and may result in door to door transport being withdrawn and the only assistance offer would be a personal travel budget.
SEND Travel Support Parent and Carer's handbook
Types of travel assistance
We will consider the needs of the child and the travel assistance offer will consist of a scale of options depending on that need. Options include:
Travel permit for use on public transport
Payment of a personal Travel Budget (PTB)
Travel skills training to enable the pupil to use public transport or to travel independently. This will be delivered in partnership with parents and the education setting
Home to school transport for example, shared taxi or minibus from the home address or from a pick-up point
If a pupil cannot reasonably walk to school, parents will be encouraged to use their own transport to take their child to and from school.
The offer of a Personal Travel Budget (PTB) will be explored as the primary offer to families
Where home to school transport is provided it is the parent's responsibility to ensure that the pupil is ready for collection at the agreed time and place. If necessary, they should be accompanied by a responsible person until transport arrives and collected at the agreed time. If for any reason they are unable to attend school and a bus or taxi has been provided to transport the child, then parents should notify the SEND Travel Support as soon as possible.
Further information about SEND Travel Support is available from:
SEND Travel Support
Newcastle City Council
Westgate Community College
Newcastle upon Tyne
Phone 0191 277 4646