Transport

The Local Offer is where you can find information about arrangements in Suffolk for transport (including for young people up to the age of 25 with an Education, Health and care plan).

In this section we focus on Special Educational Needs and Disability in relation to school and college transport law, click through the dropdowns below…

 


Under section 508B of the Education Act 1996 local authorities are under a duty to provide free school transport to eligible children. 

You may be entitled to free transport getting your child (of compulsory school age*) to a qualifying** school if: 

  • your child has special educational needs, a disability or mobility problems or
  • the route your child will take to school is unsafe or
  • you live beyond the statutory walking distance or
  • you are on a low imcome

* Compulsory school age starts the term after your child's 5th Birthday, and ends the last Friday in June of the academic year in which they turn 16.

** A qualifying school is a maintained, an academy (a free school is a type of academy), a pupil referrral unit or an Independent school named in an Education, Health and Care plan. An exception would be where the local authority consider there is a suitable school which is nearer to you.

(a full definition can be found in the Education Act 1996 - Schedule 35B)

You only need to satisfy one of the eligibility categories, if your child is eligible due to SEN, disability or mobility problems, the other categories are irrelevant.

School age children with Special Educational Needs, Disability or mobility problems

Your child may be entitled to home to school transport if they have Special Educational Needs, a disability or mobility problems, which mean they cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school* (provided the local authority has made no suitable arrangements for attendance at a nearer school).

The local authority will consider whether a child could reasonably be expected to walk if accompanied, and whether their parent can reasonably be expected to accompany them.

*It may be unreasonable to expect a child to walk to school because they lack a sense of danger for example.

Will the local authority automatically pay for transport to a school named in the Education, Health and care (EHC) plan?

Not necessarily, this will depend on whether your child is ‘eligible’, can reasonably be expected to walk to the school and whether there is a nearer suitable school.

Where you disagree with the local authority about suitability of a school you can appeal to the tribunal when the final or amended EHC plan is issued (see our information 'challenging a transport decision' in the dropdown below).

The Home to School Travel and Transport Guidance (paras 34 and 35) defines suitable travel arrangements and include:

  • enabling an eligible child to reach school safely, reasonably stress free and ready for a day of study
  • suggested maximum reasonable journey times of 45 minutes for primary school children, and 75 minutes for secondary school children.
  • School transport providers and escorts must be subject to enhanced DBS checks and have received disability equality training.

Paragraph 35 says:

The maximum distances will depend on a range of circumstances, including the age of the child, their individual needs and the nature of the routes

Section 508A of the Education Act 1996 says that local authorities must also promote the use of sustainable travel and transport for all children and young people (of compulsory school age) who travel to receive education in the local authority’s area.

Section 509AA is where you can find the duty to support young people of sixth form age (from the last Friday in June in the academic year in which s/he turns 16 but under 19). If a young person began the course they are studying at school or college before their 19th birthday, they remain of sixth form age until they complete that course.

The ‘Transport to education and training for young people aged 16 and over’ statutory government guidance says:

The overall intention of the sixth form age transport duty is to ensure that:

• learners of sixth form age are able to access the education and training of their choice; and

• if support for access is requested, this will be assessed and provided where necessary. (6)

The law requires local authorities to have a ‘Transport Policy Statement’ setting out home to school/college transport arrangements for particular groups of young people.

Legislation gives local authorities the discretion to determine what transport and financial support are necessary to facilitate young people’s attendance. 

Read the Suffolk post-16 Transport policy.

Section 508F contains the duty to support Adult learners. (who are aged19+). If they started a course of further education before their 19th birthday, they remain of sixth form age until they complete that course (section 509AA will apply - see dropdown 16-19).

The ‘Transport to education and training for young people aged 16 and over’ statutory government guidance says:

…the local authority is required to make such arrangements for the provision of transport as they consider necessary in respect of:

(a) adults (i.e. those who are aged 19 or over)… and

(b) relevant young adults with an EHC plan (…up until the age of 25) (7)

Where the local authority makes such arrangements, any transport provided must be free of charge. Where the local authority decides not to provide transport arrangements in a particular case, they still have discretion to pay all or part of the reasonable travelling expenses for the student. (9)

Read the Suffolk post-16 Transport policy.

Check if you are eligible

Apply online

Where a specialist school or college is named in an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, and the local authority have agreed to fund transport, they will write to you with a different link to make an application.

You can contact the Customer Service Team on 0345 606 6067 and someone will complete the form with you, if you are unable to complete this online.

Contact

A parent can contact Passenger Transport in the first instance if they have any questions or concerns….

Tel: 0845 606 6173

E-mail: transport.service@suffolk.gov.uk

Appeal

You may challenge a transport decision for any of the following reasons:

  • the transport arrangements offered;
  • your child’s eligibility;
  • you disagree with the distance measurement between your home and your child’s school or college in relation to statutory walking distances;
  • you consider that the shortest available walking route is unsafe for a child, accompanied as necessary;
  • there are other exceptional circumstances which mean that you cannot arrange for your child to access their school, examples might include your child’s special needs or medical condition means that they cannot be expected to walk to their school, or your medical condition means that you cannot accompany your child to their school;
  • it is claimed SCC has not applied this policy correctly.

Read about the review/appeal process

Be clear about why you disagree with the decision and include evidence, such as letters, meeting notes and reports or highlighted provision in an EHC plan which back up your reasons.

Complain

You can raise a complaint

https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/give-feedback-or-make-a-complaint/

See also our information about raising concerns

https://www.suffolksendiass.co.uk/information-and-advice/parents-and-carers/working-with-school/raising-concerns

Local authority

Suffolk Local Offer (what's available locally for children and young people with SEND)

Suffolk on board (travel support for learners with SEND)

Travel training for young people (giving students the confidence to travel)

Bus passes (for disabled people)

 

Legislation & statutory guidance

Education Act 1996 (contains the legal duties)

Home to School Travel and Transport Guidance (statutory guidance for local authorities from the Department for Education)

Transport to education and training for young people aged 16 and over (statutory guidance for local authorities from the Department for Education)