Guide: Transport for children with special educational needs

Introduction

There is no automatic entitlement to transport assistance for children who have a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Educational Health Care Plan.

If you apply for a place at your designated school or the nearest school to your home address, your child will get free transport if they live further than the statutory walking distance from the school.

The walking distance is defined as over:

  • two miles from home to school for children of primary school age
  • three miles from home to school for children of secondary school age.

You can find out which is your designated mainstream school at School designated areas.

If your child’s Statement or Education Health Care Plan says that their needs can be met at a mainstream school, the normal eligibility criteria will apply, unless a disability or medical condition means they cannot walk the specified distance for their age. Where a school is named in accordance with parental preference and is not the nearest suitable school, nor the designated school for the home address then there is no obligation for the Authority to assist with transport.

We provide Post-16 transport assistance for students eligible under the Education Travel policy. However, we are aware that some parents/carers of pupils with special educational needs may not be aware of the constraints of the policy when selecting a further education establishment for their child.

Visits to Further Education establishments often start as early as year 9 but transport is often not considered until the pupil applies for transport to the new school or college when they are in year 11. This can cause difficulties for the families if the transport request is then refused.

In an effort to make you aware of this we have produced a flyer which we hope will encourage you to make enquiries about transport earlier and before any firm plans are made for transition for your child to a further education establishment.

The information contained in this guide is also summarised in the Transport for children with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education Health Care Plan leaflet.