The starting point for the policy of home to school transport is that parents/carers have the responsibility of making the necessary arrangements to get their children to school if they live within the statutory distances.
The LA follows the principle that it is reasonable to expect a parent/carer to make arrangements for a pupil to attend school and that a Statement does not give an automatic right to free home to school transport.
If the distance criterion applies there is an automatic right to free home to school transport unless the child is attending the parents/carers preferred school and there is a nearer school which is thought as suitable by the Local Authority.
It should be noted that to enable journey times to be kept to a minimum pupils who are not physically disabled will be required to walk, with parents/carers, to a pick up point to access the free transport. No pupil will be expected to walk an unreasonable distance from home
· For pupils under the age of 8 they must live more than 2 miles walking distance from the school
· For pupils 8 or over they must live more than 3 miles walking distance from the school
If these criteria are not met then there is no automatic right to free home/school transport even if the school attended is a Special school.
The LA makes decisions regarding transport arrangements on an individual basis taking into account the following:
· The SEN Code of Practice (2001) recommends that a clear policy is in place and that transport needs should be recorded in Part 6 of the Statement where a child has particular transport needs (Paragraphs 8:87 to 8:90)
When the distance criteria are not met applications can be made and the Transport Officer will look at each completed form on an individual basis and take into account the following when making a decision:
1. Pupil Difficulties (This applies to all pupils up to the age of 16)
The nature of the child’s disability prevents parents/carers making arrangements and special transport is necessary and no specialist vehicle is available to the family.
2. Family Circumstances (Primary age pupils only)
The family circumstances are such that it is unreasonable to expect parents/carers to take their child to school e.g. a sibling who has to be taken to another school which is in a different direction or the need for a parent/carer to be at home when other children return from school.
N.B. This does not include parent/carer work commitments or the non availability of the family car
3. Factors considered for Secondary age pupils up to the age of 16
· Any physical, sensory disability which makes adult supervision essential
· The pupil’s social skills when interfacing with the public
· The pupil’s inability to handle some social situations
· The pupil’s inability to make decisions and react appropriately and safely in unforeseen situations of changes to bus routes/timings
· The nature of the particular journey, it’s complexity and possible dangers
· The number of other pupils travelling on the same transport with any difficulties that may arise from this