COVID-19 SEND School Transport Guidance - September 2020
From September 2020 there will be no requirement for social distancing on dedicated home to school transport (services which exclusively carry children and young people travelling to school or college).
You can read our full guidance which includes information on face coverings and seating by using the button below.
If your child is of statutory school age and has an Education, Health and Care Plan (previously known as a statement of special educational needs), 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.
We will also consider providing travel assistance if the school is within the statutory walking distance but the child has an Education, Health and Care plan or a long term disability and there are exceptional grounds that mean it is necessary for the local authority to provide travel assistance.
The deadline for school travel applications for children transferring from a primary phase school to a secondary phase school is 31 March. If your application is received by 31 March then school travel assistance will be guaranteed for the start of term in September. If the application is received after this date then school travel assistance may not be available for the start of term.
How you will know if your child is entitled under exceptional grounds
If your child lives less than the statutory walking distance from their school, travel assistance would only be considered if they are attending their catchment or nearest school.
It would have to be agreed that the child cannot make their own way to school (even with a responsible adult accompanying the child). Evidence from the child’s doctor, consultant or medical professional will be required.
Apply for school transport
Travel assistance is provided at the beginning and end of the official school day from a defined pick up and setting down point, not necessarily the home address. Journeys outside of the official school day remain the responsibility of the parents and carers.
If you have not applied by the 7 June we can not guarantee transport will be in place for September.
We will phone you and carry out a risk assessment to clarify any needs that should be taken into consideration. We will then tell you about the transport arrangements.
If your child is not entitled to travel assistance
For information on how to appeal against this decision please visit Request to review a school transport decision.
Post 16 Travel Assistance Entitlement
We provide transport help 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 SEND aged 19 to 25.
All students are expected to undertake Travel Independence Training to enable them to use public transport unless we assess them as unlikely to benefit from such training. All applications will be passed to the Independent Travel Training Team to make this assessment. The team will work with students, parents/carers and other professionals as necessary.
Post 16 students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who qualify for assistance will be charged a contribution towards the cost of transport and this will increase each subsequent academic year in line with the Love the Bus County Ticket for students.
For the academic year 2020/21 the Love the Bus County Ticket has been suspended due to COVID 19, so the contribution fee of £830 is based on the previous agreed price with operators. The contribution fee cannot be calculated pro-rata so the amount is the same regardless of the days that transport is accessed.
Travel assistance is only provided travel at the beginning and the end of the normal school or college day. 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 going to an FE college, we consider these things:
- Whether the student is applying for transport to their nearest relevant further educational establishment offering their chosen or comparable course
- Whether the student can use a public service vehicle (the lack of a public service vehicle is not in itself a reason for individual transport being provided)
- Whether the student is a Somerset resident
- The age and needs of the student and the benefits they will get from the course and
- The length of the journey
All students will need to re-apply for each academic year that travel assistance is required. If you have not applied by the deadline, we cannot guarantee transport will be in place for September.
Students who are returning to college for further study must be making educational progress to qualify for continued support with travel. Therefore, please enclose an academic report and assessment for ‘continuing’ students with your form. Applications without an academic report cannot be assessed and therefore, transport arrangements cannot be agreed until this report is received.
For more information, please see the Post 16 Local Policy Statement which you can download from this page.