Somerset County Council
.

Request a review of a school transport decision

 

We will assess your child's school travel assistance when we receive an application form, but unfortunately not every child is eligible. You may disagree with our decision and want your application reviewed or for additional information to be considered.

You are entitled to have your case reviewed by a senior officer for the following reasons only. (The review forms we refer to are in the Information and resources section of this page.) 

  • You believe the school is the nearest qualifying school with a place available, or is the designated transport area school for your home address - use Review form 1.
  • You believe the walking route exceeds the statutory walking distance - use Review form 1.
  • You consider the walking route to be unsafe for a child accompanied by an adult. (You must apply for a route assessment before requesting a review of  the travel assistance decision. See our 'Request a School Transport Route Assessment' page. This applies even if the safety of the route is only one of the reasons you wish for your travel assistance decision to be reviewed.) - use Review form 2
  • You are not satisfied with the transport arrangements offered to you - use Review form 3.
  • Your child has been assessed under the exceptional grounds criteria of the Somerset Travel Policy and you believe it has not been correctly applied. To request a review of the decision you must first have been considered under the exceptional grounds criteria - use Review form 4.

The review process
The review process is split into two stages.

Stage one
Where an application for transport assistance has been made and has been refused, we will write to the parent or carer to explain the decision. You have 20 working days after receiving the decision to request a review of the school transport decision.

To request a review you must complete the relevant review form and provide evidence to support your case.

Requests made for reasons that are not included in the review reasons listed above, or which disagree with the decision without providing evidence to support a case, will be dealt with as a complaint. 

The decision will be reviewed by a senior officer within 20 working days and you will be sent a detailed written outcome including

  • the nature of the decision reached

  • if relevant, information about other departments and 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
If the senior officer review upholds the original decision not to provide travel assistance, you can make a written request to proceed to stage two, which you must do within 20 working days. Full details will be included in your outcome letter. 

If you progress to stage two, a formal Transport Appeal Hearing will be heard by the School Transport Appeals Panel within 40 days. 

Before the hearing
Details of the hearing will be sent to you and you will be invited to attend and can, if you wish, bring someone with you for support or to present the case. If you do not wish to attend the hearing, it will proceed in your absence and be based on the written information provided and a decision will be made. 

A copy of the Admissions and Entitlements Team's statement and any other information related to the review will also be sent to you. 

The hearing will be held at Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY. 

You are welcome to attend the hearing and put your case forward and a representative will present the case for the local authority. The panel members will be independent of the process and suitably experienced to make sure there is a balance between meeting the needs of the parent and the local authority. No one on the panel will have been involved with the original decision to refuse the application.

The local authority and the person or people making the appeal will be bound by the decision of the School Transport Appeals Panel. However, as with all transport assistance, this may be subject to review in the light of any significant material change in circumstances. Further reviews are not allowed within the same academic year, and may only be made in subsequent years if there is a significant change in circumstances to consider.

The hearing process
The hearing will be conducted in private and those present at the hearing will be

  • The panel members
  • The clerk to the appeal panel
  • The respondent on behalf of the local authority 
  • You (You may wish to be accompanied or represented at the hearing by a friend, advisor, interpreter or signer.) 

The Chair of the Appeal Panel will introduce everyone in the room and will explain the process of the hearing. The Chair will then ask the respondent to explain the reasons why the application for transport has been refused. You will then have the opportunity to ask any questions about the case stated by the respondent. The appeal panel members may also have some questions.

You or your representative will then present your case and the respondent will have the opportunity to ask any questions, and the appeal panel members may then also have some further questions. 

You and the respondent then each have a final opportunity to summarise the case. 

You and the respondent will be asked to leave the meeting so that the panel can consider the cases and make a decision. The clerk will remain with the panel to record their decision.

The decision 
Each appeal will be considered on its own merits and the decision will take full account of all information submitted and the Council’s policy for home to school transport. 

A written outcome will be sent to you within 5 working days stating

  • the nature of the decision reached

  • how the appeal was conducted

  • if relevant, information about other departments and 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 if needed 

If the appeal is allowed, the Admissions and Entitlements Team will arrange for transport assistance for your child. 

If the appeal is refused there is no further right of appeal. If you feel your transport application or appeal has not been administered fairly or correctly, you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, The contact details are below. 

The ombudsman will only consider complaints about a failure to comply with procedural rules or other irregularities in the way the appeal was handled. If you consider the decision of the panel to be flawed on public law grounds, you may apply for a judicial review. Please contact us if you need more information about this process.

Local Government Ombudsman 
PO Box 4771 
Coventry 
CV4 0EH 

Helpline 0300 061 0614  
Website www.lgo.org.uk

Contacts

Contact: Admissions and Entitlements Team
Address: County Hall, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4DY
Email: schooladmissions@somerset.gov.uk
Phone: 0300 123 2224
Fax: 01823 356113
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm, Friday: 8.30am to 4.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Somersetschooladmissions/

 

» Indicates required fields

Feedback form
Was this information helpful? »