Travel Care and Support Service – Home to School Travel Assistance
Important notice: Please send all referral forms/application forms to [email protected]
Please note: The deadline to submit applications for travel assistance for September 2023 is 01.06.2023. Applications received after this date will be processed as normal, however it will not be possible for transport to start until after the October half term.
What is Home to School Travel Assistance?
Home to school travel assistance exists to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities who may find it difficult to travel to school or college without the help of assistance from the local authority.
All local authorities have a statutory duty to provide travel assistance for children aged between 5-16 years that have been assessed through an application process as eligible for the service.
Eligibility for home to school travel assistance is based upon the local authority's published Home to School Travel Assistance Policy which can be downloaded by clicking here.
Paper copies of the application form are available from the Travel Care and Support Team via email on [email protected] or by phone on 0207 361 3311.
Sixth formers and college students should apply directly to their sixth form or college for travel via the 16-19 bursary. Further information on this bursary can be found by clicking here.
How to Apply
All parents or carers wishing to apply for home to school travel assistance must complete the home to school travel assistance application form at least 14 days in advance of their child or young person's expected start date at school. For Phase transfers applications, forms must be submitted by 01.06.2023 in order for transport to be arranged for September.
Paper copies of the application form are available from SEN Transport via email on [email protected] or by phone on 02073613311.
Once an online application form has been submitted it will be assessed by the Travel Care Coordinator who is a part of the Special Educational Needs (SEN Team) and is responsible for processing applications and determining eligibility based upon the published Home to School Travel Assistance Policy. Once the application form has been recieved, the process can take upto 8 weeks or sooner, however in total the process can take up to and over 4 weeks from start to finish.
What happens next?
Parents of a child or young person that has been identified as eligible for home to school transport will be written to and asked to complete a Travel Care Plan
Questionnaire which will be used to create your child or young person’s Travel Care Plan.
The Travel Care Plan is used by the Travel Care and Support Team as a risk assessment document and allows them to safely schedule transport and to ensure that any information that is vital to the child’s ability to travel safely on transport is recorded and passed onto the child or young person's transport staff, where applicable.
Once your child’s Travel Care Plan has been completed by the Travel Care Co-ordinator it will be sent through to the Travel Care and Support Service Team so that transport can be scheduled. Once your child’s Travel Care Plan has been completed by the Travel Care Co-ordinator it will be sent through to the Travel Care and Support Service Team so that transport can be scheduled. The scheduling process usually takes 8 weeks or sooner, however in total the process can take up to and over 4 weeks from start to finish.
If you need to contact the Travel Care and Support Co-ordinator regarding eligibility for home to school transport or your application form please email [email protected] or call the SEN team on 020 7361 3000.
Change of Circumstances
Change of circumstance form process, for change of address, collection or drop off, requires a new Travel care plan and transport rescheduled, process can take 1-2 weeks to schedule any changes.
Independent Travel Training
Our Independent Travel Training program has been specially designed to help children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities to learn how to travel to school or college using public transport. Independent Travel Training can make a significant difference to the lives of young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities as it teaches a life long skill that may lead to greater social inclusion and employment prospects in the future. Some of the other benefits of travel training include an increase in confidence and self-esteem as well as gained independence for young people that have completed the training. Travel Training is a valuable way of empowering young people who have learning difficulties and/or or disabilities to reach their full potential. The training scheme aims to remove the barriers that young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities may face and allows for greater access to jobs, services, their communities and social networks. Each training program is designed using a person-centered approach, built around the young person and tailored to their individual needs and abilities. This allows our travel training team to ensure that the training is accessible to everyone eligible for the service. If you are a young person or a parent of a young person with special educational needs and/or disabilities and would like to apply for Independent Travel Training, you can do so by contacting the Travel Training team via email on [email protected].
Personal Transport Budgets
A personal transport budget is a sum of money that is paid to parents or carers of a child or young person that has been assessed as eligible for home to school travel assistance. The personal transport budget scheme allows families the freedom to arrange their own travel arrangements with funds loaded onto a pre-paid card provided by the local authority. Personal transport budgets can be used to cover the cost of transport or travel services that are required to get the child or young person from their home address to their allocated school or college. Some examples of what a personal transport budget can be used for are below:
• Daily, weekly or monthly bus/train pass
• Fuel costs for parents who would prefer to drive their child or young person to school
• Taxi fares
• Arranging shared travel arrangements with other parents, such as shared driving responsibilities, buses or joint taxi bookings.
• Overcoming barriers that may prevent you accompanying your child or young person to school, e.g. childcare.
• Personal transport budgets cannot be used to purchase anything that is not related to the child or young person’s home to school travel.
If you would like to apply for a personal transport budget for your child or young person you should complete a home to school travel assistance application form and indicate on the form that you are interested in receiving a budget. If your child or young person already receives home to school travel assistance from the local authority and you are interested in applying for a personal transport budget please email [email protected] for an offer pack with more information and to receive a quote for the personal transport budget amount that you may be entitled to. This process can take at least 10 - 14 working days to process the application.
Travel Care and Support Team
The Travel Care and Support Service is a team within the Council that is responsible for running a smooth and effective transport service to the highest possible standards. After your child’s transport application has been approved we are your first point of contact for anything related to your child’s transport.
We will make sure that you and your child receives:
- A clean, safe, and secure vehicle
- A reliable service which arrives on time
- Well trained, polite, and consistent staff
- Journey updates from us
The Travel Care and Support Team will contact you with detailed information regarding your child’s route and the names of staff who will be ensuring your children travel safely to and from their destinations. Further information on what to expect from the service can be found by downloading our handbook for parents and carers.
It’s essential that Travel Care Assistants and Drivers understand and respond to your child’s individual needs. Therefore, we have introduced Pen Portraits, a Pen Portrait is a PECs friendly document that aims to help Drivers and Travel Care Assistants better understand your child’s needs and make their journey more comfortable.
It is up to you if you’d like to complete a Pen Portrait, but we believe they are important to help transport staff better understand your child’s individual needs. Pen Portraits are kept securely and will not replace your child’s Travel Care Plan.
If you would like a copy of a Pen Portrait, please contact us.
We only provide home to school or college transport in the mornings and the afternoons. The Travel Care and Support Service cannot provide transport for personal medical appointments or any extra-curricular activities.
How you can contact us:
- 0207 361 3623
- [email protected]
We also use a text messaging service to provide parents with important transport updates in real time. For example, if there is a delay to the journey or change in staff and we need to let a group of parents know quickly, we would use the texting service. To ensure that you get these text updates, please make sure we have your preferred mobile number so that we can add it to our texting service. It’s also important that you let us know if your mobile number changes.
For children and young people who do not meet the crtieria for specialist travel care support, there are still many options accessible options for home to school travel.
Please be aware that mid- year applications may take up to 14 working days to be processed and that you will be notified in writing of the outcome. Phase transfer applications must be submitted by 01.06.2023 to be processed in time for September. Applications received after this date will be processed as normal, however it will not be possible for transport to start until after the October half term.