Travel assistance arrangements
Once your application for travel assistance has been approved by the council’s Admissions and Transport team, it is handed over to the Client Transport Team. They plan the various routes and arrange the commissioning of transport. They will contact you about the planned transport for your child.
The Client Transport Team will manage the practical arrangements of the transport and will consider:
- the needs of your child against the types of transport available
- the various routes that need to be planned and commissioned
- whether your child will share transport with other children
When routes are planned, the Client Transport Team need to make the best use of resources such as costs and time. This can result in your child travelling on a different vehicle to their friends and it may not be possible to change this.
Once routes have been agreed, the Client Transport Team will pass on the details to the commissioning team who source a contractor willing to take on the route.
The council also has a legal obligation to review and re-tender transport contracts on a regular basis. This tends to happen in preparation for the new financial year every April, so it can mean that if a new contractor is successful in getting the contract, your driver and vehicle will change. It will always be a vehicle that is suitable for your child’s needs. Wherever possible you will be informed of this before it happens.
- Travel assistance and transport arrangements
- Changes to travel arrangements/transport
- Reviewing transport if your child has an education health and care plan
- When to contact the Client Transport Team
- Good practice guidance on transport
- Behaviour on transport
You will receive details of the transport arrangements for your child from the Client Transport Team, usually during the last week of summer term. For other start times during the year, it will usually be the week before the contract begins.
You will be notified of the type of transport that has been allocated, for example coach, minibus or taxi. Most children will travel with others and your child may be allocated a space on existing transport and routes. Only in exceptional circumstances will your child travel on their own in a taxi.
As routes are commissioned in advance with the transport company, you should be aware that:
- travel to school is only at the start and finish of the normal school day
- if your child is collected at a “pick up point”, you will be responsible for their safety to and from that point
- you need to ensure your child is ready to be picked up at the allotted time as agreed on the letter from Client Transport Team
- someone will need to be available to meet your child when they return home
Once a route has been agreed with the transport provider, it will not be possible to make any changes to that route unless the council carry out a new contract.
It is not possible to vary the pick-up times or location of the agreed pick up or drop off route.
Examples of this might include that:
- your child has missed their transport
- your child is unwell or has to leave school earlier
- your child has a school trip or afterschool club to attend
- your child has been given a part time timetable; this may not be catered for however this will be assessed on an individual basis
- you ask your child to be dropped off at a different location
If this happens it will be your responsibility as the parent or carer to make any necessary travel arrangements for your child to get to or be collected from school.
There are sometimes unforeseen circumstances such as severe weather when the school may be closed. The council will arrange to announce any school closures and transport cancellations on local radio and on the council website.
A review of your child's travel arrangements should be made annually as part of the annual review process for an education, health and care plan (EHCP).
The council also has a legal obligation to review and re-tender transport contracts on a regular basis. Any review of this nature will be communicated with you or your child if over 16 before any changes are made.
You can contact the Client Transport Team to discuss arrangements or any problems you have regarding your child’s transport. An answering service is available during out of hours.
If you have a change of plan to your child’s normal pick up and drop off times, you must inform the Client Transport Team as soon as possible, for example if your:
- child will be late for school due to being unwell/appointment /missed transport
- child unwell and needs collecting from school
- child has work experience so transport will not be required until they return back at school
- child has an after-school club or trip and will not need their normal transport that day
You must keep the Client Transport Team informed of any changes to your child’s collection times as soon as you are able to, so that they can cancel the travel arrangements. They will pass this information onto the contractor; you do not need to contact the contractor yourself. You may be charged for transport if the Client Transport Team have not been informed in advance.
The Client Transport Team have recently updated the good practice guidance for all pupils, parents/carers and vehicle operators. If your child/ young person is travelling on a vehicle to school or college please take the time to read the guidance and discuss it with them, as they have responsibilities whilst on the vehicle. The guidance also provides information about the additional measures being taken due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. There is separate guidance for mainstream pupils and those with special educational needs.
In the interests of safety and other passengers, it is important that children behave when using transport and follow the rules shown in the Good Practice Guidance. Persistent or serious misbehaviour which poses a threat to other passengers, the driver and/or escort and the safety of the vehicle and other road users will be investigated and may result in transport being suspended or withdrawn. In that event, the parent/carer will then have to arrange transport to school.