5.1. It is important to offer a range of transport options, based on the identified needs of the child or young person. The options will also take account of the local authority’s duty to make best use of public resources.
The TfL Oyster card
5.2. For many young people, the free travel within London offered by the Oyster photocard is a suitable option. There are different schemes for different age ranges and you may need to apply for an Oyster photocard. Visit the Transport for London website for further information on the Oyster photocard (external link).
Independent travel training
5.3. Independent travel training, focused on the needs and capabilities of a young person, can increase independence by developing personal, social and life skills. By working closely with parents and carers, the child or young person and the school, travel training will contribute to greater independence for the child or young person and thus will always be given priority as an option when considering suitable solutions.
5.4. Independent travel training will increase young people’s resilience against bullying and abuse when using public transport because they will not be marked out as “different” which many of them are concerned about. 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 SEND Transport Team, and will normally result in the withdrawal of any form of travel assistance.
Personal Travel Budget or mileage allowance
5.5. This is a sum of money paid directly to parents and carers to enable them to make travel arrangements for their child. The amount that parents and carers receive will be based on the distance travelled from home to school and the child or young person’s needs. Payments will be made half-termly in advance. The Personal Travel Budget is not taxed and does not affect any other benefits that parents and carers receive; the only requirement is that children attend school regularly and on time. A Personal Travel Budget can be refused or withdrawn if these conditions are not met.
5.6. A personal travel budget is funded at £0.45 per mile, paid in six equal installments across the year. The distance funded is calculated for the round trip, to take the pupil to school and the parent to then return home.
Distance from home to school = 3.0 miles
Distance funded per day is 2 round trips = 12.0 miles
Annual funding is 190 days x 12.0 miles @ £0.45 /mile = £1,026 per year
5.7. If a child or young person is able to walk to school accompanied, and the Local Authority accepts that it would be unreasonable for the family to provide this accompaniment, it may be possible to provide a walking companion for the child or young person.
5.8. Where assessed as necessary, the London Borough of Sutton may provide a vehicle to transport a child or young person to and from school. Where transport vehicles are provided, they will be provided by a suitably qualified, registered commercial provider working to contractual standards set by the Council.
5.9. Whenever possible, children will travel together in buses and other shared vehicles, suitable for the needs of those travelling on them. Each route will be planned on the basis of school start and finish times. Most vehicles run closely to time and are required to transport several children. The pick-up and drop-off times reflect the required timings to give the shortest possible route for all children travelling on a particular vehicle. Small changes at one point may make the the journey excessively long or otherwise unreasonable for other children. We are unable to arrange times specifically to suit parental preferences.
5.10.The London Borough of Sutton currently offers both a “home to school service” forchildren and young people in receipt of vehicle transport as well as utilising appropriate safe and convenient ‘collection points’ at reasonable distances to and from family homes. The home to school service will only be agreed where it is deemed essential due to the child or young person’s particular needs. This will normally be on the basis of one pick up point / address and one drop off point / address per day.
Taxi / private hire vehicle
5.11. Under some circumstances, the London Borough of Sutton may transport pupils in separate taxis or private hire vehicles based on the assessed needs of the child or young person. Arrangements of this kind will be kept under regular review and, where possible, the opportunity will be taken to move to an alternative suitable form of travel assistance.
5.12. A Passenger Assistant is a person who accompanies students on a route to ensure their safety and the safety of the vehicle.
5.13. In some circumstances, a Passenger Assistant may be provided to accompany pupils to school on transport provided by the local authority. Passenger Assistants will only be provided where they are necessary for the safe operation of vehicles or the care of children or young people. A Passenger Assistant will not be provided simply because of the child’s age or because he or she does not know the driver.
5.14. Passenger Assistants are provided for all buses and coaches used to transport children with special educational needs.
5.15. Children transported by other vehicles will normally only be provided with a Passenger Assistant in the following circumstances:
- Where a pupil is under the age of seven years and is transported to out- borough provision;
- Where the Principal Physician for Child Health confirms that a passenger assistant is required on medical grounds, and a health care plan is provided;
- Where a child has a behaviour, learning or communication difficulty which is such that there is evidence to indicate that their safety or the safety of other passengers could be compromised without provision of a Passenger Assistant.
5.16. Provision of a Passenger Assistant at any one time does not guarantee that this will be an ongoing arrangement and the requirement for a Passenger Assistant will be reviewed at least annually, or more frequently in the event of a change in circumstance.
5.17. If you are concerned that your child may find travelling without you upsetting, it may be possible for you to travel with your child on the first day when he or she meets the driver. You should contact the Cognus SEND Transport Team if this applies to you. Contact details are given in Section 10.