What is a Personal Travel Payment?

Getting children to school is ultimately a parent or carers responsibility so a Personal Travel Payment is a sum of money paid to parents or carers of some children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who are eligible for free school travel.

Having a Personal Travel Payment gives families the freedom to make their own decisions and arrangements about how their child will get to and from school each day.

For children in residential placements, this will be based on either weekly, fortnightly or termly arrangements.

Why should I choose a Personal Travel Payment?

Parents and carers have told us that they would like more choice and control over the way in which the Council makes arrangements for their child to travel to school. A Personal Travel Payment enables parents and carers to make arrangements that suit them, their child and their family, providing an alternative to the traditional services that the council provides.

They are designed to ensure parents and carers feel in control of the decisions being made and give them the flexibility to decide for themselves how best to ensure their child arrives at school on time and ready to learn.

They allow parents to opt for a monthly payment from the Council with which to make their own transport arrangements. For older children this might be used to pay for a travel buddy to support them in learning to use public transport, reduce the need for taxis and increase independence.

What are the benefits?

  • freedom and flexibility to make travel arrangements that best meet their family’s needs and circumstances
  • choice and control over how funding to support their child’s needs is spent
  • opportunities to share with other parents and potentially increase buying power
  • a new alternative to the traditional services that the Council provide

How much will my Personal Travel Payment be?

The Personal Travel Payment will take account of where you live, what school your child attends and their travel needs.

This means that each Personal Travel Payment will be tailored to the needs of each family.

What will the process be to sign up for a Personal Travel Payment?

The Council will approach those families where they believe a Personal Travel Payment may be beneficial. Personal Travel Payments are voluntary and so if you choose to sign up to the scheme, then an agreement will be drawn up between you and the Council outlining the roles of both parties.

This agreement will also outline the amount you will receive on a monthly basis for your Personal Travel Payment and will be reviewed on an annual basis if there is no change.

What sort of travel arrangements should I make for my child?

You can make whatever travel arrangements you like as long as you meet your responsibilities under your contract with the council. Your options include:

  • purchasing a travel pass for you and your child and using public transport *
  • walking with them to school *
  • cycling with them to school *
  • drive them using your own vehicle *
  • arrange shared travel arrangements with other parents, such as shared driving responsibilities, walking buses or joint taxi bookings
  • overcome other barriers that may prevent you accompanying your child to school, for example travel or childcare arrangements for siblings

* If you cannot do these things with or for your child, you could ask a family member, a friend or someone else you trust or pay a carer to do it for you.

Please be aware that where you use your Personal Travel Payment to pay someone else to transport your child to school that person is responsible for ensuring that they fulfil any tax liability that arises as a result of providing the service.

How will the Personal Travel Payment get paid?

Payments will be made from the council into your designated bank account in eleven equal monthly instalments between September and July.

You will need to provide us with your bank details when you sign the contract.

Will I regularly need to show the council how I am spending the Personal Travel Payment?

No. We want to keep the flexibility and control with you, and we will therefore keep monitoring to a minimum.

We will monitor your child’s attendance and check to see that they arrive at school on time and fit to learn.

If I sign up for a Personal Travel Payment can I then cancel my contract with the Council?

You will be able to withdraw from the scheme, but you will have to give the Council 8-weeks’ notice, so we have plenty of time to make alternative arrangements for your child.

Can the Council withdraw my Personal Travel Payment for any reason?

The Council could cancel your Personal Travel Payment if:

  • Your child’s attendance is unacceptable and/or they are late for school
  • You move home and your child is no longer eligible for free school travel
  • You have not made safe travel arrangements for your child
  • Your child leaves the school

Will it have an impact on other benefits?

Personal Travel Payments do not typically affect benefits, but it must be remembered that they are an allowance to cover the cost of the home to school arrangements you are putting in place for your child.

If there is a surplus, that is, if you aren’t spending all of the funding, parents should return that element of the Personal Travel Payment to the Council or risk having it considered when benefits are assessed.

Last reviewed: February 22, 2024 by Jenny

Next review due: August 22, 2024

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