SEND FAQs: Travel

The questions below were provided by parents and carers of children and young people with SEND in 2018. We have worked collaboratively with Swindon SEND Families Voice to provide this document in response to these questions.

Please do check if your child/young person is eligible under the Council’s SEND Home to School Travel Policy. This section of the Local Offer provides a range of information on Swindon Borough Council’s travel offers.

If your child/young person is eligible then you will need to apply for SEND travel options.

If your child does not have an Education, Health and Care Plan then you can make an application for in-year school travel support at any time. However, please note that applications for the following school year will not be accepted before May in the preceding academic year.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan then you can make an application for in-year school travel support at any time by speaking to your child’s allocated EHCP Coordinator. However, please note that applications for the following school year will be dealt with by the SEND Service in May and June in the preceding academic year.

During this time the team will consider whether your child is eligible for SEND Travel. To find out more, read our transport policy.

See also: Applying for school travel assistance

This is where the Council pay you a sum of money based on the mileage from your home to your child’s provision for you to transport your child to school. The money is paid monthly into your bank account.

The Council pays the HMRC rate of 45 pence per mile. Your child must be eligible under the policy to receive this. There are many advantages for families in using this mode of travel assistance.

The Council has a duty to ensure that PTBs are reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that your child/young person is still eligible under policy.

Your circumstances may have changed during the year e.g. you may have moved home; your child may have moved provision; your child’s age has changed and the distance criteria would need to be re-assessed.

If you are in receipt of a PTB then you must re-apply on an annual basis.

If you are already in receipt of travel assistance then you will not need to re-apply unless:

  • your circumstances have changed, i.e. moved home (a change of address will always require a new application)
  • your child has moved an age category as new eligibility criteria will apply:
    • if your child is below the age of 8, the distance is 2 miles
    • if your child is over the age of 8, the distance is 3 miles

If your child/young person has had their Education, Health, Care Plan (EHCP) amended by 15 February 2024 as they are moving a phase of education in September 2024 then you do not need to put in an application.

Our teams are currently assessing eligibility for this cohort of young people and you will shortly receive a letter, which will outline if your child/young person is eligible.

If it is determined that your child is not eligible, this letter will outline your right of appeal against this decision.

This is a new change to process this year and one that we hope will ease some of the pressures on families at this important transition in their child’s lives.

The team will be processing several hundred applications and will be arranging travel for nearly 1,000 children, this process does take a very long time and it may seem like you have not heard any details about your child/young person’s travel, but we can assure you this is not the case at all.

We aim to have all routes planned and information out to families early in the summer holidays. However, it is very difficult to give an exact date as there are many factors that could impact on this.

If it has been determined that your child/young person does not meet the eligibility criteria, then your letter informing you of this will include details of how you can appeal this. There are two stages to the appeals process.

Stage 1 which is an internal review of the decision and will be undertaken by an officer who was not involved in the original decision.

If the decision remains the same then you will receive your rights to a stage 2 appeal. This is an appeal overseen by an independent appeals committee. This will take place in person and you will be able to attend. If your appeal is not successful at stage 2 then there are no other routes of appeal.

Read our transport policy for more information.

If travel assistance has been agreed for children with an Education, Health and Care Plan travel options can include: 

Other bodies or persons making travel arrangements might include:

  • a) A parent consenting to a personal travel budget to enable travel arrangements for the student.
  • b) A parent consenting to use their car in return for a mileage allowance.
  • c) A school or group of schools reaching an agreement with a local authority to provide transport in minibuses owned by the school.
  • d) Or a transport authority providing free bus passes for all children under the age of 16.

Swindon local authority may otherwise provide transport in one of the following ways, according to the needs of the student:

  • e) Provision of a pass for a public service bus or other means of public transport.
  • f) Provision of a seat on a bus or minibus provided by the local authority.
  • g) Provision of a seat in a taxi where more individualised arrangements are necessary.

If options f or g are agreed then:

If the travel assistance is in-year the Passenger Travel Team has 10 working days from the date the travel has been authorised with the SEND Statutory Service to implement the transport. In these cases you will be advised by letter confirming travel arrangements.

If the travel assistance is for the following school year then you should receive a letter from the Passenger Travel Team approximately one week prior to the start of the new school year.

These letters will provide you with the company who will be providing the transport contact details, and you will need to telephone them to ask what the estimated pick up and drop off times are for your child. Please allow flexibility for the first couple of weeks of a new travel arrangement whilst the route is becoming embedded.

The council is responsible for ensuring safe, cost-effective travel options to mainstream, special schools and colleges for children and young people. The Travel Hubs start to construct these plans towards the end of the summer term, to ensure minimal changes are made as a result of school placement changes being finalised at the end of term.

The routes for all travel are regularly reviewed during the school year. The timings of travel may change in-year depending on whether changes are needed to be made to the route, for example, the inclusion of an additional child or a change of address.

Travel to and from school will be determined and approved from a single permanent residence. This is the residence where the student spends most time with the parent/guardian and has been used for admission purposes and the school.

Travel provision will be reassessed if there is a change in the home address.

In exceptional circumstances, consideration may be given to whether a different address can be used however this will include the consideration of the efficient use of resources.

If your child/young person is under 12 years of age and under 135 cm tall, you will provide an appropriate booster seat for use on transport.

If your child/young person requires a specialist seat for travel, you will be responsible for providing a copy of the seating assessment and will provide the appropriate seating for use on a vehicle.

The council are responsible for ensuring safe, cost-effective travel services to mainstream, special schools and colleges for children and young people who have been assessed as requiring a seat on a bus, minibus or taxi provided by the local authority. It is likely that the other children in the vehicle will be attending the same provision as your child.

A Passenger Assistant may also be provided depending upon your child or other children on the vehicles Special Educational Needs and/or medical needs.

All staff have Enhanced DBS clearance.

Minibus drivers receive training under MIDAS (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme) which covers securing wheelchairs.

If the driver is sick then cover will be arranged by the transport operator as soon as possible in line with the contracts held with transport providers.
If the Passenger Assistant is sick, cover is provided from within the pool of casual staff under the Passenger Travel Team.

We encourage parents, drivers and Passenger Assistants to communicate with each other to ensure the best experience for the child.

Yes you can. Please indicate this is required at the time of discussing your travel requirements.

Not necessarily. If you feel this is required then please share the reasons for this as the time of discussing your travel requirements.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan and you have been advised that you child is eligible for travel assistance then you can request a personal travel budget.

To apply for a personal travel budget, see: Applying for school travel assistance.

Visit appealing a decision page for the appeal criteria and next steps.

Contact details can be found on the Operational Travel Hub contact details page.

A replacement vehicle will be allocated and deployed as soon as possible.

Contact details are on the Operational Travel Hub contact details page.

Please contact your Passenger Assistant if your child has one. If they do not then contact the appropriate operational team

Contact details are on the Operational Travel Hub contact details page.

Service requests and complaints are slightly different. A service request is a contact from a customer that brings a matter to the council's attention for the first time, and requests a service offered by the council, for example, advising of a change of address or requesting a change of arrangements.

A complaint is a where the customer expresses dissatisfaction about the standard of a service, actions, or lack of actions by the council and its staff.

A complaint can be made online: Complaints and feedback

Concerns with the contracted operational education transport should be referred to raised directly to the Passenger Travel Services office by calling 01793 445500.

For any concerns regarding Passenger Assistants and pupil behaviour contact us using the Operational Travel Hub contact details page.

Please refer to the complaints and enquiry question above.

Please contact the Travel Team in the first instance to discuss and seek a resolution. If you remain unsatisfied then you should proceed to the complaints route as described above.

See: Operational Travel Hub contact details

There are a range of support services open to you:

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