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School transport for children and young people with SEND

Introduction

Eligibility criteria

Some children who have SEND needs may be entitled to free school transport assistance if on completion of a transport application form they meet the travel assistance criteria in one of more of the following categories:

  • If you have a child who is less than eight years of age and you live further than two miles from your child's school, by the shortest available walking route.
     
  • If you have a child between 8 and 16 years of age and you live further than three miles from your child's school, by the shortest available walking route.
     
  • If you have a child aged between 11 and 16 years of age that attends his/her nearest suitable school and lives more than two miles but less than six miles from school and your child is entitled to receive free school meals.

What is travel assistance?

The term travel assistance refers to the various different means of transport that are available to support children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities in Hillingdon.

Examples include:

  • Personal transport budgets
  • Independent travel training
  • Motorised transport provided by the council

How to apply

Application

If you / your child or young person fits the criteria and would like to apply for this service please complete this online application form.

What to expect

Council provided transport is motorised transport such as minibuses, cars or taxis provided by the council to take your child to and from school.

If your application for travel assistance for your child is successful and it has been evaluated that council provided transport is the best method to get your child to and from school then you will receive notice in writing and you will be asked to sign a parental agreement contract and complete a needs profile form for your child.

This will give the transport team all of the information that they need to ensure that your child is placed on the correct vehicle and has the correct care for their individual needs.

If your application has been successful you can complete the Needs profile.

Independent travel training

Overview

Independent travel training is specialist training run by Ealing Mencap, designed to help your child learn the skills and gain the confidence to travel independently using public transport.

Travel Training is a scheme run by Hillingdon Council's travel training partner Ealing Mencap. We offer person-centred, one-to-one training to build the skills and confidence needed to help young people learn to travel safely and independently.

The training covers several key areas, including:

  • learning a route
  • road safety
  • problem solving
  • asking for help
  • stranger danger

How does it work

Normally training with students is on two set days every week, existing travel arrangements continue on the days where travel training does not take place. A timetable will be arranged with you, and school transport if necessary. If your child does not have an under-16 Oyster card or Freedom Pass we can help you apply for one.
On the agreed days the Travel Trainer will meet your child at home in the morning and train with them on the safest route to school, and back again in the afternoon. As training progresses your child will begin to do more of the journey independently, while assessments are carried out to check their learning. Your child may also be offered a day placement during school time to do additional work tailored to their individual needs.

How long does it take

There is no set time limit to Travel Training placements; students become independent once they are able to meet the criteria in our training. You will be kept fully-informed about your child's training programme and involved in all decisions and planning. You will be given your Travel Trainer's mobile number which you can contact at any point if you have questions or concerns.

What happens when the training is finishing?

Once we all agree that your child is safe and ready, and all our assessments are complete, your child will begin to travel independently. At this point your child will be shadowed on one of their journeys to and from school by a Travel Training they don't know to check for any problems. They will be shadowed three and six months after they have begun to travel independently, to ensure that they are continuing to travel safely. If we/you, or your child have any problems or concerns once independent travel is underway, we will offer further training and support.
Even after the six month shadow we can offer follow-up training if any problems arise, so please get in touch with us if you need to.

What can you and your child expect from Travel Training?

Travel training offers your child the opportunity to:

  • learn to travel independently on public transport within a well-structured, comprehensive training programme run by experienced professionals
  • learn to travel to and from school safely on their own and in the process they will build confidence and communication skills, increase their ability to solve problems, and learn to take responsibility for their own safety.
    Importantly, independent travel will open up opportunities for your child socially, and enable them to access services or work placements further down the line, when travel assistance is no longer an option. It will increases self-esteem and give the young people we work with a great sense of achievement.
    Taking the step to independence can be a cause of anxiety for a lot of parents, but we will support you and your child throughout the process. In our experience, Travel Training has hugely positive results for everyone involved.

Who is eligible and how do I apply?

In order to for your child to be considered for travel training they first need to be assessed as eligible for travel assistance.

Travel training may not be suitable for all young people; the trainers will carry out an assessment to determine this. If suitable for Travel Training, council provided transport or a personal transport budget may be offered as in interim until a travel trainer is available.

Further information

For more information on independent travel training contact Ealing Mencap travel.training@ealingmencap.org.uk or on 01895 250 485.

Personal Transport Budgets

Overview

A personal transport budget is a sum of money provided to parents or carers of children with special educational needs who are eligible for travel assistance. Personal transport budgets enable families to arrange their child's home-to-school travel arrangements in a way that suits their circumstances best. The budget allows families to make flexible arrangements, monitor the quality of their child's transport directly and, if they choose, work with other families to achieve the best possible travel arrangements for their child(ren).

What is it

If your child is assessed as eligible for travel assistance, you maybe eligible for a personal transport budget from Hillingdon Council. If you are unsure about eligibility, please call the Special Educational Needs team on 01895 277199.

Further information

Find out more about Personal Transport Budgets

Last reviewed: 27/09/2017

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