Applying for school 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.

The timetable below sets out when the application windows for the forthcoming academic year open:

Type of application Window opens Window closes
Personal Travel Budget (PTB) 18 March 2024 20 May 2024
SEND Travel 8 April 2024 9 June 2024

You can apply online using the form below:

Apply for SEND travel options

For guidance on how to apply for school travel assistance and answers to other travel assistance queries, visit the travel FAQ page.

Travel applications are assessed for eligibility in line with the SEND Home to School Support with Travel Policy 2023 to 2024 (PDF), which sets out three criteria:

  • Live outside the statutory walking distance from home to school
  • Live within walking distance but, the nature of the route to school is unsafe
  • 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.

See also the transport news and information page.

Distance criteria

Statutory walking distance is based on 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.

This applies to:

  • a child or young person aged 5 to 7 years old, where the distance between home and school is more than 2 miles
  • a child or young person aged 8 to 16 years old, where the distance between home and school is more than 3 miles

To work out if your child or young person may be eligible based upon distance, you can check on Google Maps.

Eligibility based upon distance will be reconsidered in a number of circumstances:

  • Transport was agreed between the ages of 5 to 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

We 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 Plan (EHCP) or attend a special school do not automatically qualify for travel assistance.

Travel assistance for young people aged 16 to 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.

We also have 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

Find further information on Personal Travel Budgets.

Further information

If you have any questions relating to travel assistance for children and young people with an EHCP, please contact the following travel teams:

More information on the travel teams and the educational settings they cover can be found on the operational travel hub contact page.

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