Have you heard of Somerset’s ‘Travel Trainers’?

The team works with schools and colleges to support students aged 14 and over with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to be able to travel independently to/from their school or college.

The scheme, set up in 2003, has been highly successful in giving students who would otherwise take taxis and minibuses to school or college with an opportunity to travel independently with their friends and peers and succeed at an important life skill. Travel Trainers are qualified in Travel Training through Train the Trainer from the Institute of Environmental Health,

Somerset County Council has a dedicated team able to offer one-to-one tailored training to support children and young people aged between 14 to 18 to develop the skills to with travelling independently. The Travel Trainer will go to a child or young person’s home to work with them, accessing the most suitable public bus route or walking route to their school or college.

Skills taught are varied depending on the needs of the child or young person, including:

  • Road safety
  • Time management
  • Use of public transport
  • Location identification
  • Problem solving
  • Money skills
  • Stranger danger
  • Appropriate behaviour

The Travel Trainers will speak with parents/carers to make sure the student is getting all the support needed to be successful in travelling independently. Students are individually trained according to their needs and abilities; there are no set targets or timescales. A thorough risk assessment is completed before a child or young person is permitted to travel independently.

Our Travel Trainers have an excellent success rate and would encourage all parents/carers to look at the long term and short-term benefits of their child travelling independently.

Referrals usually come from schools, colleges or social workers but parents/carers interested in their child or young person taking part in the training scheme can contact the Travel Trainers Team directly.

For more information, visit: https://beta.somerset.gov.uk/independent-travel-training

Contact Debbie Reed, Somerset County Council’s Commissioning Officer for School Transport, Access and Additional Learning Needs: DReed@somerset.gov.uk

About this article

July 22, 2022

Keir Mitton