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Introduction

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Somerset Council would like to remind all parents who have a child or young person with an EHCP and a new placement, school or college in September to apply for school travel assistance as soon as possible.

Applications received from 31 July 2024 onwards will be considered late applications.

For late applications we cannot guarantee that any travel assistance will be in place for the start of the new school year. We therefore advise you to consider alternate arrangements up to the October half-term.

If your child is of statutory school age and has an Education, Health and Care Plan – the local authority will provide travel assistance if they attend the nearest, appropriate school for their age and needs, and live beyond the statutory walking distance of 2 miles for pupils under 8 and 3 miles for those aged 8 and over.

Travel assistance is only provided for children at the beginning and end of the official school day from a defined pick up and set down point, not necessarily the home address.

If your child is starting school for the first time or starting at a new school in September, please apply as soon as your child’s placement is confirmed in order to ensure your child’s travel assistance will be ready for the start of the new term in September.

We will also consider providing travel assistance if the school is within statutory walking distance and there are exceptional grounds that mean it is necessary for the local authority to provide travel assistance.

Travel assistance for compulsory age children

If you wish to apply for travel assistance for compulsory age children (age 5 to 16) please fill out the online form below.

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Don’t forget – Residents of Somerset who are disabled or cannot drive for medical reasons are entitled to a concessionary bus pass which provides free or reduced-cost bus travel at certain times of the day and is encouraged to use Better Journey Cards to let the driver know they may need additional help. This is a separate provision to travel assistance for further education and the use of one does not exclude the use of the other.

SEND Exceptional Travel Assistance

If your child lives less than the statutory walking distance from their nearest, appropriate school they would not be entitled to travel assistance.

However, travel assistance may be provided if the child cannot make their own way to school (with a responsible adult accompanying the child). Evidence from the child’s doctor, consultant or medical professional stating that the child cannot walk the distance, accompanied as necessary, will be required.

Over 16 Travel Assistance Entitlement

We provide travel assistance for students aged 16 to 19 with special educational needs, such as a physical or mental disability, who cannot make their own way to their further educational establishment. We will also consider applications from students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) aged 19 to 25 for a first course of study only.

Where appropriate, all students are expected to work with our independent Travel Trainers to receive training to allow them to travel independently in the future. Refusal to participate in this scheme may result in withdrawal of transport. All applications will be passed to the Independent Travel Training Team to make this assessment.

Post 16 students with SEND who qualify for assistance will be charged a contribution towards the cost of transport. This will increase each subsequent academic year in line with the Love the Bus County Ticket for students.

Travel assistance is only provided at the beginning and the end of the normal school or college day from a designated stop. It is not possible to arrange support with travel around specific start and end times, so students will need to fill such time with self-study.

When we receive an application from a student with SEND , we consider these things:

  • Whether the student is a Somerset resident
  • The age and needs of the student
  • The distance to the relevant establishment (over 3 miles statutory walking  distance). Further supporting or medical evidence will be required if the  student does not meet this requirement
  • The length of the journey in relation to the needs of the young person
  • Whether the student can use public service vehicles. Lack of public service vehicles in an area is not in itself a reason to offer travel assistance
  • Whether the student is applying for transport to their nearest college, 6th   form college or school
  • Whether the student is attending a full-time course (a minimum of 540 hours per year – approximately 14 hours per week – of supervised study across three
    academic terms).

Apply for travel assistance

All questions on this form must be answered in full otherwise your application may not be processed.

This form has 5 pages and will take approximately 4 minutes to complete

All students will need to re-apply for each academic year that travel assistance is required. If you have not applied by the deadline of 30 June, we cannot guarantee transport will be in place for September. For more information, please see the Post 16 Local Policy Statement below.

If you have not applied by the deadline of 30 June, we cannot guarantee transport will be in place for September. For more information, please see the Post 16 Travel Policy Statement below.

Last reviewed: February 8, 2024 by Gemma

Next review due: August 8, 2024

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