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Post 16 travel policy

Sutton post-16 travel policy

Post-16 Travel Assistance to Education and Training Academic Year 2021/22

1. Policy

1.1. In line with the Raising of the Participation Age (RPA), the London Borough of Sutton is committed to ensuring that young people aged 16 to 18 are encouraged and supported to continue with their education and training where this is appropriate and suitable to their needs. This will enable young people to acquire the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for their personal development and progression into future employment or Higher Education.

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

1.3. This document is the London Borough of Sutton’s Transport 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.

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

2. Scope

2.1. This policy covers the Academic Year 2021/22, from 1st August 2021 to 31 July 2022.

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 who are looked after by another Local Authority but live in Sutton, should refer to the transport policy statement issued by their home local authority. Links to other Local Authorities’ policies can be found through on the governement website (external link).

2.3. This policy applies to all young people aged 16-18 as at 31st August 2021 entering or continuing further education. It also applies to continuing learners aged 19 to 25 as at 31st August 2021 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 Funding Agency (EFA) 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

3.1. Transport for London

3.1.1. For the majority of Post 16 students, transport needs will be met by the provision of free 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.

3.1.2. Residents of London boroughs aged 16-18 and in full-time education or on a work-based learning scheme (including apprenticeships) of at least 12 guided hours per week on courses at level 3 and below can apply for a 16+ Oyster photo card. The card gives free travel on London buses and trams, half adult- rate Oyster single fares on the tube, DLR and London overground, child-rate travelcard season tickets on the tube, DLR and London overground, half adult- rate Oyster single fares on some national rail services and child-rate travelcard season tickets on national rail services. Free travel and concessionary rates are available until the end of the course or the academic year, whichever is earlier. For further details  on discounted travel visit Transport for London (external link). 

3.1.3. 18+ Student Oyster photocards are available to students who are aged 18 and over, and who are attending a full-time course (and in certain circumstances a part-time course) at colleges, schools and universities registered on the TfL 18+ Student Oyster photocard scheme. The 18+ student card gives a 30% discount on bus, tram, tube, DLR, London overground and national rail travelcard season tickets. For further details on fares visit Transport for London (external link).  

3.1.4. Young people aged over 18 years who live in the London Borough of Sutton and are on the first year of an apprenticeship that will last for more than 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 further details on fares visit Transport for London (external link).  

3.1.5. Application forms are available from Post Office branches throughout Greater London and areas that are served by the London bus, tube and over ground networks. For further details on application forms visit Transport for London (external link).

3.2.National Rail Services

3.2.1. All young people between 16 and 25 years old (including students and apprentices) are eligible to purchase a 16-25 Rail Card 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 further details visit on the 16 to 25 Railcard visit the website (external link). 

4. Financial Support for post-16s

4.1. There are several sources of financial support which can be used to pay for transport costs, or which can support you in a residential placement (which would avoid transport costs).

4.2. The 16-19 Bursary Fund

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

4.2.2. Vulnerable Student bursary

You could get a Vulnerable Student bursary of up to £1,200 if at least one of the following applies:

  • you’re in or recently left local authority care
  • you’re disabled and you get Income Support in your name
  • you’re disabled and you get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name
  • you’re disabled and you get Universal Credit in your name in place of Income Support or ESA

4.2.3. Discretionary bursary

Your school or college will have their own criteria for discretionary bursaries. They’ll look at your individual circumstances - this usually includes your family income. Ask student services about their criteria and any evidence you’ll need.

4.3. 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).

4.4. Residential Support Scheme

4.4.1. 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.

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

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

4.5.Residential Bursary Fund

4.5.1. The Residential Bursary Fund provides financial support towards the costs of accommodation for young people attending one of 40 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.

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

4.6.Care to Learn

4.6.1. Care to Learn provides financial support to young parents (aged under 20 at the start of your course) who want to continue their education and need help with the cost of childcare and any associated travel.

4.6.2 The scheme is available for publicly-funded courses in England. This includes courses that take place in schools and academies (including their sixth forms), sixth form colleges, other colleges and learning providers, including Foundation Learning and your community at Children’s Centres.

4.6.3. Childcare payments of up to £175 per child per week go directly to your childcare provider and travel payments go direct to your school or college - they’ll either pay you or arrange travel for you.

4.6.4. Applications are made through the Student Bursary Support Service by phone on 0800 121 8989 or email c2l@studentbursarysupport.co.uk. For further details visit the Care to Learn website (external link).

4.7.Discretionary Learner Support

4.7.1. If you’re aged 19 or over, on a further education course and facing financial hardship, you could get Discretionary Learner Support. The support can pay for accommodation and travel, course materials and equipment or childcare (if you qualify).

4.7.2. 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 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;
  • any other individual circumstance.

5.4. The above list is for guidance only, and satisfaction of one or more of the criteria does not automatically allow entitlement to transport 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 transport in the most cost-effective and sustainable manner. Where transport 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 is can be found on the Local Offer. 

5.8. Home to School Transport Appeals Process

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

  1. The transport arrangements offered
  2. Their child’s eligibility
  3. The distance measurement
  4. The safety of the route

5.8.2. Stage one:

A parent 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 parent believes the decision should be reviewed and give details of any personal and/or family circumstances the parent believes should be considered when the decision is reviewed.

Within 20 working days of receipt of the parent’s written request a senior officer will review the original decision and send the parent 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).

5.8.3.Stage two:

A parent 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.

Within 40 working days an independent appeal panel will consider written and verbal representations from the parent 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).

5.8.4. 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.

5.8.5. Local Government Ombudsman. 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.

6.Contacts

6.1. Citizens Advice website (external link). 

6.2. Gov.UK website (external link).

6.3. Learner Support Helpline: Tel: 0800 121 8989 Email: c2l@efalearnersupport.co.uk

6.4. National Careers Service website (external link).

6.5. National Rail: 16 -25 railcard website (external link). 

Tel: 0345 3000 250

Email: railcardhelp@railcardsonline.co.uk

6.6. Sutton SEN Transport (provided through Cognus Limited): Transport Manager: Tel 07534 538442

Transport Team: Tel 020 8323 0460

6.7. Transport for London: Website (external link).

Tel: 0343 222 1234 Textphone: 0800 1123456