Applying for school travel assistance

Applying for travel assistance

Children and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) may qualify for free or supplemented travel assistance to and from school or college.  Travel applications can be made here

Travel applications are assessed for eligibility in line with the SEND – home to school support with travel policy 2021 – 2022, which sets out three criteria: 

  1. Live outside the statutory walking distance from home to school.
  2. Live within walking distance but, the nature of the route to school is unsafe.
  3. Live within the walking distance but are unable to get to school even if accompanied, because of their SEN or disability.

Children under the age of five are not eligible for travel assistance as they do not meet the Statutory School age, however exceptions may be made upon receipt of proof of need. 

The SEND – home to school support with travel policy 2021 – 2022 can be found here. 

Distance criteria

Statutory walking distance is based upon the age of the child or young person, and is calculated using the shortest, safest walking distance from the child or young person’s main home address to school. 

Child or young person’s age Distance between home and school
5 – 7 years old More than 2 miles
8 – 16 years old More than 3 miles

 Eligibility based upon distance will be reconsidered in a number of circumstances: To work out if you child or young person may be eligible based upon distance you can do this through Google Maps

  • Transport was agreed between the ages of 5 – 7 and the child is turning 8;
  • The child or young person’s main address changes;
  • The child or young person moves education settings;

Travel assistance on the basis of SEN or disability

The eligibility for children with SEN, disability, mobility or medical condition who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school is assessed on an individual basis and it includes the following: 

  • The child must be attending the nearest appropriate school as determined by the Local Authority.
  • The child cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school, even when accompanied by an adult.
  • There is evidence that their medical condition, mobility issues or special educational needs affect their ability to travel to and from school. 

The Council will consider relevant evidence from a consultant or other relevant medical professional such as a GP, Community Paediatrician, Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist (this list is not exhaustive) to demonstrate the difficulties they have in walking or travelling on public transport in order to go to and from school, accompanied as necessary by a responsible adult or parent. 

The child or young person’s case will be reviewed on a regular basis and up to date information on their medical condition will be required at each review. 

Children and young people who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan or attend a special school do not automatically qualify for travel assistance. 

Travel assistance for young people aged 16 – 25 with an EHCP

The vast majority of students with EHCPs will be able to travel to further education college placements on public transport with the support available universally to all students. 

Additional consideration for support is given when the severity of special educational need or disability makes travel assistance essential, or they have to travel much further from home to attend a school or college which can meet their needs (as named in the EHCP). 

Travel assistance options

Travel assistance will be appropriate to the individual needs and circumstances of the child, and will encourage them to grow in confidence and independence wherever possible. 

The Local Authority will encourage and promote sustainable travel options and will aim to improve the physical well-being of those who use them and/or the environment.  To this end, priority will be given to walking, cycling, public transport, and shared transport. 

The Local Authority also has the responsibility to ensure the best use of public resources on behalf of all residents of Swindon. 

Examples of the following range of options will be considered: 

Travel Assistance encouraging

  • Walking (alone or accompanied by parent/carer/friend/adult supervisor)
  • Walking bus (walking with other children and adult supervisors)
  • Cycling
  • Scooting 

Travel Assistance using

  • Bus/Train Pass for public transport
  • Car Share
  • Personal Travel Budget (PTB)
  • Independent Travel Training 

Travel Assistance requiring

  • Dedicated school bus routes
  • Minibus or shared MPV from pick up points
  • Minibus or shared MPV from door to door
  • Shared Taxis
  • Individual taxi
  • Passenger assistance 

Further information on Personal Travel Budgets can be found here

Further information

If you have any questions relating to travel assistance for children and young people with an EHCP, then please contact the SEND Service by email at SENDService@swindon.gov.uk, or by telephone on 01793 464641.