How to request a route assessment or a review of your school transport application
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.
To request a route assessment please see the information in the ‘Request a school transport route assessment’ section below.
The review process is split into two stages.
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
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.
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 will be conducted in private and those present at the hearing will be
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.
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
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
Helpline 0300 061 0614
Travel assistance is provided to children who attend their designated transport area or nearest school and live more than the statutory walking distance from that school. The statutory walking distance is 2 miles for children aged under eight years old and 3 miles for children aged eight years old and over. If you live within the statutory walking distance of the school, it is your parental responsibility to make sure your child attends school.
We measure the shortest available walking route from a child’s home address to school and use this measurement to assess each child’s eligibility for school transport. The measured statutory walking distance must be a route, which a child accompanied as necessary, can walk with reasonable safety to school.
If you feel the shortest available walking route between your home or the bus pick up point and your designated transport area or nearest school is unsuitable, you have the right to request that the route is assessed.
Download the form in Downloads, and post or email it back to the address at the end of the form. We will then write to you to confirm we have received your application, with the date by which you will be notified of the outcome. The process is quite lengthy and it can take up to 8 weeks for you to be informed of the outcome of your route assessment.
When we receive a request to carry out a route assessment, a road safety auditor from the Highways department will walk the route from your home address or bus pick up point to the school. If you specify a section of the route to be unsuitable, then just that section will be assessed.
We always assess the route on a school day and at the same time as if you were walking to or from school for the start or end of the normal school day. This way we get an accurate idea of the nature of the road. We also get statistical data, including road traffic accidents or fatalities, to get a full understanding of the route.
If the road safety auditor finds that a section of the route is considered unsuitable, it can no longer be included as part of the statutory walking distance measurement.
If the road safety auditor finds that it is suitable we will write to you with a copy of their report.
If there is an alternative route to school avoiding the unsuitable section that is within the statutory walking distance, we will tell you and your child will not be eligible for travel assistance.
If there is no alternative walking route which avoids the unsuitable section, your child will be eligible for travel assistance.
If you request a route to be assessed, which has previously been walked and judged to be suitable, we will not re-assess it unless there has been a significant change to the route.
Walking routes are assessed against the following criteria:
We take into account a range of factors, the fact that there is a high volume of fast-moving traffic is not in itself a reason to assess a route as unsuitable – there may be a footpath and good crossing points along the route that would mean it is safe.
Similarly, the lack of a footpath or verge would not be a reason to assess a route as unsuitable if there was, for instance, a very low volume of traffic and good visibility.
We do not take the following into account:
If you wish to appeal against the decision that the route is suitable to walk accompanied as necessary, details of how to do this will be included in your outcome letter.
Following a request from a parent for the route from North Petherton to Robert Blake Science College to be assessed under road safety grounds, we are now able to advise parents and carers of a change to entitlement.
Whilst the route to the school is paved, the volume of traffic at one of the crossing points exceeds the recommended level. Therefore, this small section of the route has now been classed as unsuitable to walk and cross. This means that students living in North Petherton will now be entitled to free school transport to Robert Blake Science College until road improvements are made to ensure the route is re-designated as safe.
Work has begun on the walking and cycling route from North Petherton to Bridgwater. When these works are complete it may be the case that your child will no longer be eligible for free home to school travel assistance, as there may be a safe route to school that is under the statutory walking distance of 2 miles for children aged under 8 years old and 3 miles for children aged 8 years old and over.
If your child will no longer be entitled to free home to school travel assistance, you will be given half a term’s notice of these arrangements.
We aim to process applications within 10 working days.
Route Assessment Application Form
Review form 1 – Qualifying school and distance
Review form 2 – Review of road safety report
Review form 3 – If you are unhappy with the arrangements offered
Review form 4 – Exceptional Grounds
North Petherton – Robert Blake route assessment
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