Assistance with Costs
There can be a number of reasons why a child may qualify for home to school transport. The home address which determines entitlement to transport is the place where the child is normally resident with his or her parent(s). Entitlement differs between primary and secondary aged pupils and Post 16 pupils. Please refer to the sections below for further information.
Distance Qualifications for primary and secondary aged pupils up to 16
The LA will provide free transport between home and school if the school attended is the nearest appropriate one, as designated by the LA, and if the distance between home and that school, when measured by the nearest available walking route, is two miles or more for children aged five to seven years and three miles or more for children aged eight years and above. These distances are referred to in the following paragraphs as "statutory walking distances". The LA will also provide transport if the school attended is the closest school to your home address and closer than the designated school and the statutory walking distances given above are met. Children starting in reception and year 7 will be automatically assessed for school transport by the local authority. If you wish to apply for transport for an existing year group under the above policy please either download and complete the PDF application on the previous page or complete the electronic version and email back to us using the link in the attached form. (Assistance Application Form).
Additional Transport for Low Income Families
Transport will be provided:-
For children over age eight, but under 11 years of age, who live more than two miles from the nearest school and are in in receipt of or entitled to free school meals or their maximum level of working tax credit (with no reduction due to income).
For children of secondary age between 11 and 16 who live between more than two and six miles from one of their closest 3 schools and are in receipt of or entitled to free school meals or their maximun level of working tax credit (with no reduction due to income).
For children of secondary age (aged 11-16) attending their nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief, between two and 15 miles from home.
If you wish to apply for transport for an existing year group under the above policy please either download and complete the PDF application on the previous page or complete the electronic version and email back to us using the link in the attached form. (Low Income Families Assistance Application Form)
The LA will, exceptionally, provide transport to the nearest appropriate school for a particular pupil who lives within the statutory walking distances after taking into consideration the age of the pupil and the nature of the route, or alternative routes, he or she could reasonably be expected to take. This policy tends to apply in the areas where school children, accompanied by a responsible parent, carer or other person could not walk it in reasonable safety. Please refer to the Guidance on Assessing Walked Routes to Schools. Children starting in the reception and year 7 will be automatically assessed for school transport by the local authority. If you wish to apply for transport for an existing year group under the above policy please either download and complete the PDF application on the previous page or complete the electronic version and email back to us using the link in the attached form. (Assistance Application Form)
In exceptional circumstances home to school transport may be provided on medical grounds, to enable pupils to attend their designated area school even though they may live within the statutory walking distance from the school. The Health Authority will be asked to supply details of the child’s medical needs.
The LA will assist with transport where a child attends a specific school for denominational reasons. Parents will be required to provide written evidence that the child has been baptised in the relevant faith of that school. The child must also be attending the nearest appropriate school of the denominational type, satisfy the relevant statutory walking distance and the cost to the LA of making suitable transport arrangements must not be unreasonable.
Our current denominational transport policy also supports parents who have a faith for which there is no specialist Educational provision or those who have no faith (e.g. Atheists/humanists) who have selected a non-denominational school because of their different faith/belief to their nearest school or lack of belief.
When making an application to travel under Denominational Transport you may also be asked to provide a copy of the child's baptismal certificate
From September 2014 the Council agreed a phased withdrawal of subsidised home to school transport services for new starters attending denominational schools from September 2014 who would not qualify under other home to school policy subsets, (e.g. as a low income family) save in the case of children with siblings currently at the school and who qualify under the denominational transport scheme. This option would not affect students who started the school before September 2014, only new pupils joining after September 2014.
A sibling refers to children who are:
brother or sister or half brother or sister;
adopted brother or sister;
step brother or sister;
the child of the parent/carer's partner, and in every case the child should be living in the same family unit at the same address.
Children with an older sibling in receipt of subsidised transport to a denominational school before August 2014 will continue to receive transport if in the future they attend the same school.
If your child is not entitled to transport under the above policies he/she may be able to take up a spare seat on a hired vehicle only (this does not include public bus services), if one is available, on payment of the termly charge determined by the LA. However, it must be emphasised that before making your application, it is of vital importance that you understand that seats either may not be available at all or once offered can be withdrawn at short notice (normally one month) if:
a chid entitled to free transport requires a seat on the vehicle
it becomes possible to reduce the size of the vehicle provided for passengers entitled to free transport
the vehicle is no longer required for passengers entitled to free transport and the service is withdrawn altogether
If you wish to apply for transport for an existing year group under the above policy please download and complete the PDF application on the previous page and email back to Passenger Transport using the link in the form, please also read the Terms & Conditions for the Fare Paying Passenger Transport Scheme.
Please be aware that there is no appeal process for the Fare Paying Passenger Scheme. Local authorities have to have in place a review/appeals procedure for parents should they wish to complain about the service or disagree with the decision not to allocate their child travel support. The appeals process has two stages:
Stage 1 – officer assessment
A parent has 20 working days from receipt of the LA’s decision not to offer transport to make a written request for a review. Within 20 working days of receipt of the parent’s request, a senior officer will review the original decision and send the parents a detailed reasons letter. If the parent is not satisfied with this decision, they can escalate the matter to Stage Two.
Stage 2 – appeal to independent panel
If the parent wishes to appeal against this decision, they have 20 working days to submit a request for appeal. This request is referred to Democratic Services who will set up an appeal hearing within 40 working days. The panel will consist of 3 members who have been trained in the law and policy regarding home-to-school transport. Panel members are volunteers and are independent of the authority. Their role is to ensure a balance is achieved between meeting the needs of parents and the local authority and that road safety requirements are complied with.
The appeal hearing process
The hearing process will follow the same pattern as those for admission appeals which is based on a court model. We aim to ensure that the appeal process is conducted in a transparent and fair manner and that both parties feel they have been able to put their case and have been listened to.
Approximately 14 days before the hearing, the parents will be sent an invitation to attend the hearing. They will be asked to send information and evidence in support of their appeal. Democratic Services will collate these papers together with any submissions from the authority and about 7 days before the hearing, the papers will be sent out to both parties and to the Panel.
All papers are treated as confidential and hearings are held in private. If parents are unable to attend, the case will be heard in their absence.
At the hearing, the chair of the Panel will introduce all the parties and explain the role of the Panel and their powers.
The hearing will then proceed in the following order:
· The LA representative will explain why assistance with transport has not been provided
· The parents and panel may ask questions of the LA representative
· The parent will be invited to explain why they want assistance with transport.
· The Panel can ask questions on what the parent has stated.
· Both parties will be given the chance to sum up.
· The parent and LA representative will leave the room and the hearing is concluded.
Decision – making
After the hearing, the Panel will make their decision. They will consider all the evidence, both written and oral, from both parties. In particular, they will consider:
· Whether the LA’s published Home-to-School transport policy was applied correctly when the decision to refuse help with transport was made.
· Whether the Stage 1 procedure was followed correctly.
· Whether providing transport for the child in question would be an effective and efficient use of Council resources
· Whether the case made by the parents and their circumstances outweighs the considerations above
The Panel make their decision on the evidence and circumstances presented on the day and concerning the individual child in question. If the appeal is upheld, parents need to understand that there is no guarantee that siblings would also be eligible for free transport in the future.
The Panel’s decision is final and binding on both parties. There is a right of complaint to the Local Ombudsman but only if the complainants consider that there was a failure to comply with the procedural rules or if there are any other irregularities in the way the appeal was handled. If the complainant considers the decision was flawed on public law grounds, the complainant may apply for judicial review. The Panel’s decision and their reasons will be contained in a letter sent to both parties within 5 days of the hearing.
Secondary Aged Pupils
Norton Hill and Somervale Schools
Pupils who live in the areas normally served by Norton Hill School and Somervale School will be entitled to assistance with transport to either of these schools where the distance between home and school is three miles or more by the nearest available walking route.
Special Educational Needs and Post 16 Transport
Please see link below:-