Post-16 Travel Assistance to Education and Training

Post-16 Travel Assistance Policy 

Publication date: May 2022

Review date: April 2023

Contents

1 Policy

2 Scope

3 Public Transport

  • Transport for London

  • National Rail Services

4 Financial Support for post-16 students

  • The 16-19 Bursary Fund - Vulnerable student bursary and Discretionary bursary

  • Residential Support Scheme

  • Residential Bursary Fund

  • Discretionary Learner Support

5 Support for students with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities

6 Independent travel training

7 Home to School Travel Appeals Process

  • Stage one

  • Stage two

  • Local Government Ombudsman

8 Contacts

1. Policy

1.1 The law in England states that young people aged 16-18 must do one of the following:

  • stay in full-time education, for example at a college

  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship

  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

1.2 The London Borough of Sutton is committed to ensuring that young people aged 16 to 18 are supported to continue with their education and training. Where appropriate, this includes providing advice on, and assistance with, travel.

1.3 This support is available to all young people aged 16-18 entering or continuing further education (FE) and to continuing learners aged 19 to 25 with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD) who satisfy the eligibility criteria.

1.4 This document is the London Borough of Sutton’s Travel Assistance Policy Statement which the Education Act 1996 requires all Local Authorities to publish by 31st May each year, setting out what travel assistance is available from the London Borough of Sutton and other bodies, to help young people aged 16-18 (and learners aged 19 to 25 with LDD) to access school or further education institutions.

1.5 The policy statement applies to all students participating in the scheme and supersedes all previous travel assistance arrangements and entitlements. Funding for travel assistance is subject to annual budgets and financial affordability. The Travel Assistance Policy Statement will be reviewed annually.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy covers the Academic Year 2022/23, from 1st September 2022 to 31st August 2023.

2.2 This policy applies to anyone who is resident in the London Borough of Sutton or who is a looked after child in care of the London Borough of Sutton. Learners not resident in Sutton or learners who are looked after by another Local Authority but live in Sutton, should refer to the travel assistance policy statement issued by their home local authority. Links to other Local Authorities’ policies can be found on the government website (external link).

2.3 This policy applies to all young people aged 16-18 as at 31st August 2022 entering or continuing further education. It also applies to continuing learners aged 19 to 25 as at 31st August 2022 with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD) who satisfy the eligibility criteria.

2.4 This policy provides for learners who are engaged in education or training at a school or academy, a further education institution, a sixth form college or a local authority maintained or assisted institution providing higher or further education. It also applies to learners at an establishment funded directly by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) such as an independent specialist provider for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities or a learning provider that is funded by the local authority to deliver accredited programmes of learning which lead to a positive outcome (this could include colleges, charities and private learning providers).

3. Public Transport

Transport for London

3.1 For the majority of Post 16 students, travel assistance needs will be met by the provision of free or discounted travel by Transport for London (TfL). Young people travelling by bus should obtain the appropriate Oyster card before starting their programme of study. It is the young person's responsibility to ensure they meet the requirements set by TfL for retaining an Oyster card.

3.2 Residents of London boroughs aged 16-17, and adults who live in a London borough who were 18 on 31 August and in full-time education, can apply for a 16+ Zip Oyster photocard. The card gives free travel on London buses and trams, 50% off adult pay as you go fares on bus, Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail (excluding between West Drayton and Reading) and most National Rail services in London, and Child rate 7 Day, Monthly or longer period Travelcard and Bus & Tram Pass. A 16+ Zip Oyster photocard expires on 30 September in the year after the young person’s 18th birthday. For more information on the 16+ Oyster Photocard please visit the Transport for London website (external link).

3.3 18+ Student Oyster photocards are available to students who are aged 18 and over, and who are attending a course at colleges, schools and universities registered on the TfL 18+ Student Oyster photocard scheme, or on a mandatory work placement in London. The 18+ student card gives a 30% discount on bus, tram, tube, DLR, London Overground and National Rail travelcard season tickets.  For more information on the 18+ Oyster Photocard please visit the Transport for London website (external link). 

3.4 Young people aged over 18 years who live in the London Borough of Sutton and are participating in the first year of an apprenticeship that will last for at least 12 months are eligible to apply for an Apprentice Oystercard. The Apprentice Oystercard gives a 30% discount on bus, tram, tube, DLR, London Overground and National Rail travelcard season tickets.  For more information on the Apprentice Oyster Photocard please visit the Transport for London website (external link).

3.5 Applications must be made online, by a parent or guardian for children aged under 18, or by the young person if they are 18 or older. For more details, visit the Transport for London website (external link).

National Rail Services

3.6 All young people between 16 and 25 years old (including students and apprentices) are eligible to purchase a 16-25 Railcard for an annual fee of £30. A 16-25 Railcard offers 1/3 off Standard Anytime and Off-Peak fares, as well as Standard Advance and First Class Advance fares, with some restrictions (such as season tickets). For more details on the 16 to 25 Railcard please visit the website (external link). 

4. Financial Support for post-16 students

4.1 There are several sources of financial support which can be used to pay for travel assistance costs, or which can support young people in a residential placement (which would avoid travel assistance costs). For more information please visit the gov.uk website (external link).

The 16-19 Bursary Fund

4.2 The 16-19 Bursary Fund is available to support any student who faces financial barriers to participation, including travel assistance costs. There are two types of 16-19 bursaries available:

(i) Vulnerable Student bursary

4.3 Young people can get a Vulnerable Student bursary of up to £1,200.  The defined vulnerable groups are students who are:

  • in care

  • care leavers

  • receiving Income Support, or Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves or financially supporting themselves and someone who is dependent on them and living with them such as a child or partner

  • receiving Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments in their own right as well as Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit in their own right

(ii) Discretionary bursary

4.4 Each school or college will have its own criteria for discretionary bursaries. They will look at each young person’s individual circumstances - this usually includes the family income. Young people should ask their student services about the criteria and any evidence they need.

4.5 All education providers must make available a copy of their 16-19 Bursary Fund policy upon request, and applications are made directly to the school, college or training provider. For further details on the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund visit the Government website (external link).

Residential Support Scheme

4.6 The Residential Support Scheme provides financial support with accommodation costs for learners aged between 16 and 18, who need to live away from home to study because their course is not available locally.

4.7 Learners must meet the eligibility criteria (which includes an income assessment) in order to receive support from the Residential Support Scheme. If a learner is assessed as eligible, the amount of award they receive will be based on the actual accommodation costs up to a maximum award level.

4.8 Applications are made directly to the school, college or training provider. For further details visit on funding for college accommodation visit the Government website (external link).

Residential Bursary Fund

4.9 The Residential Bursary Fund provides financial support towards the costs of accommodation for young people attending one of the specialist residential education institutions, where their course requires the young person to be resident in order to participate because it is not available locally and/or because it requires students to be available at unsociable hours on a regular basis.

4.10 Students should talk directly to the institution concerned if they may be eligible for support. 

Discretionary Learner Support

4.11 If a young person is aged 19 or over, on a further education course and facing financial hardship, they could get Discretionary Learner Support. The support can pay for accommodation and travel, course materials and equipment or childcare (if the young person qualifies).

4.12 Students should talk directly to the institution concerned if they may be eligible for support. For further details on Learner Support visit the Government website (external link).

5. Support for students with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities

5.1 The London Borough of Sutton encourages most post-16 students to use public transport and travel independently because of the beneficial effects this will have on the young person’s development.

5.2 We recognise that in some circumstances additional assistance with travel may be required. Where a student has an Education Health and Care Plan, decisions will be based on parental or student application and assessment.

5.3 Consideration will be given to a student’s needs and abilities using similar criteria to younger students, namely:

  • the distance between the student’s home and the nearest suitable school or college;

  • evidence that the student is attending a full time course and that there was not a suitable alternative school or college course nearer to home;

  • the learning difficulties and disabilities of the student;

  • the type of provision the student is attending;

  • whether the student has physical, medical, or communication difficulties that would prevent them from safely using public transport;

  • whether suitable public transport is available (e.g. for wheelchairs, specialist seating etc);

  • whether the student may be vulnerable and at risk of danger, or would be a danger to other passengers, drivers or the vehicle, if they use public or other transport;

  • whether medical evidence confirms that transport / travel assistance is required on medical grounds;

  • whether the student’s needs would prevent their parents from providing transport;

  • the efficient use of LB Sutton’s resources;

5.4 The above list is for guidance only, and satisfaction of one or more of the criteria does not automatically allow entitlement to travel assistance. Each case will be reviewed on its individual merits.

5.5 It is the expectation that post-16 students with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities who are attending mainstream schools or colleges will use public transport. The Local Authority will make arrangements to assess the suitability of public transport, and will provide access to training to allow independent travel where this is necessary.

5.6 LB Sutton will allocate travel assistance in the most cost-effective and sustainable manner. Where travel assistance is provided it may take one of the following forms:

  • reimbursing mileage costs for parents and carers who transport learners to their place of learning;

  • provision of an escort to accompany the student on public transport;

  • assessment for, and access to, independent travel training;

  • provision of a private bus service; bus stops will be used where possible to cut down on the number of stops a bus has to make.

  • in exceptional circumstances, transport may be provided by individual taxis or licensed private car hire

5.7 An application form and further guidance can be found on the Local Offer website. 

6. Independent travel training 

6.1 Independent travel training (ITT) is an important life skill and is shown to have a positive effect on young people's independence. Learning to travel safely supports young people to access employment opportunities and participate in social and educational activities which in turn helps them build their own lives and maintain relationships with peers. Through working closely with parents and carers, the child or young person and the school, the aims of ITT are to increase confidence, independence and choices for young people.  Because of the positive outcomes, travel training will be given priority as an option when considering suitable solutions. 

6.2 An expert team of travel trainers train students and adults on a one-to-one basis to travel to their place of learning independently. A trainer will go with the trainee on their journey, giving encouragement and guidance until they develop the skills to travel on their own.

6.3 A trainer will create a training plan for the trainee that meets their needs. This will take into account suitable routes. They will then visit parents / carers and the child / young person at home to talk through the plan and make sure everyone agrees with it. Parent / carer consent will always be requested before training starts.

6.4 Independent travel training (ITT) is an important life skill and is shown to have a positive effect on young people's independence.  Learning to travel safely supports young people to access employment opportunities and participate in social and educational activities therefore helping to build and maintain relationships with peers. By teaching young people with LDD to travel independently we aim to increase confidence, independence and choices for young people.

6.5 An individualised travel training programme includes:

  • one-to-one personalised travel trainer support

  • journey planning

  • road and personal safety skills

  • time management

  • emergency strategies

  • stranger awareness

  • travel technology awareness

6.6 Criteria for successful completion of the training are based on an agreed rigorous training programme and assessment process undertaken by a qualified Travel Trainer.  A copy of the final assessment will be provided to parents and carers. Successful completion of independent travel training will be signed-off by the young person, the family and the Assisted Travel Team. 

6.7 Successful completion of ITT will usually result in the young person being able to travel to their place of learning independently and without the need for support from the Local Authority. This is a great way to achieve one of the Preparation for Adulthood outcomes for a young person. 

6.8 Requests for ITT can be made by completing the referral form Travel Training Referral Form (PDF) and sending it to the Cognus Assisted Travel Team (SEN.Transport@cognus.org.uk).  More information on our current ITT offer can be found on our Local Offer website.

7. Home to School Travel Appeals Process

7.1 LB Sutton has a two stage home to school transport review/appeals process for parents who wish to challenge a decision about:

  • The transport arrangements offered

  • Their child’s eligibility

  • The distance measurement

  • The safety of the route

Stage one

7.2 A parent or young person aged over 18 has 20 working days from receipt of the local authority’s home to school transport decision to make a written request asking for a review of the decision. The written request should detail why the requestor believes the decision should be reviewed. 

7.3 Within 20 working days of receipt of the written request, a senior officer will review the original decision and respond with a detailed written outcome setting out: the nature of the decision reached; how the review was conducted (including the standard followed e.g. Road Safety GB); information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted as part of the process; what factors were considered; the rationale for the decision reached; information about escalation to stage two (if appropriate).

Stage two

7.4 A parent  or young person aged over 18 has 20 working days from receipt of the local authority’s stage one decision to make a written request to escalate the matter to stage two.

7.5 Within 40 working days an independent appeal panel will consider written and verbal representations from the parent/young person and officers and give a detailed written outcome setting out: the nature of the decision reached; how the review was conducted (including the standard followed e.g. Road Safety GB); information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted as part of the process; what factors were considered; the rationale for the decision reached; information about escalation to the Local Government Ombudsman (see below).

7.6 The independent appeal panel members will be independent of the process to date and suitably experienced, to ensure a balance is achieved between meeting the needs of parents and the local authority, and that road safety requirements are complied with.

Local Government Ombudsman

7.7 There is a right of complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman if complainants consider that there was a failure to comply with the procedural rules or if there are any other irregularities in the way the appeal has been handled. Details can be found on their website: https://www.lgo.org.uk/ 

8. Contacts

Email: SEN.Transport@cognus.org.uk

Further Information

 View the Application form