Home to school travel and transport: statutory guidance
In November 2016 the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) submitted evidence in support of Contact a Family’s request for an all parliamentary inquiry into SEN Transport. The response was based upon the lived experiences and views of our members, parent carers of children and young people SEND (birth-25).
The law relating to SEN Transport is complex and this has been further complicated by the introduction of the Children & Families Act in September 2014. Further information is available in our SEN Transport Talking Point
The Department for Education is consulting on revised statutory guidance for local authorities on home to school travel and transport for children of compulsory school age (5-16). The guidance was last updated in 2014. There have been no changes to the law.
The revised guidance seeks to clarify local authorities’ statutory duties in relation to home to school travel and transport policy, in response to feedback from local authorities and other interested parties, including parents.
The policy for transport to post-16 education and training is different from that of children of compulsory school age, and as such is not included within this consultation.
The consultation runs from now until 31 October 2019.
What our members have told us
The NNPCF want to coproduce our response to this consultation with our members.
Local forums have previously told us the following issues are common for the families they represent:
- SEN Transport is a real problem for parents with children with SEND both in terms of eligibility and quality of the service provided.
- Children and young people with SEND outside of the compulsory school age (Pre-School and 16-19 years) where Local Authorities can use their discretion. Pressures on Local Authority budgets have resulted in many areas cutting transport assistance for these children and young people.
- Current statutory duties around the provision of travel assistance do not align with other legislation (see 2 above).
- Lack of disability awareness and training for drivers and escorts.
- Health, safety and safeguarding concerns.
- Services which are not flexible.
- Services which are not children, young person or family centred.
- There are currently no statutory duties to provide travel assistance to support young people to work. Information on ‘Access to Work’ is not readily available and funding is limited to 39 weeks.
- The inclusiveness and attitude of schools and colleges and whether children and young people with SEND are able to go to local schools and colleges or not is having an impact on SEN Transport budgets.
- Travel assistance doesn’t always work towards supporting children and young people with SEND to become as independent as possible, improving outcomes as they prepare for adulthood.
Examples of Good Practice
The NNPCF would like to include examples where parent carer forums have been involved in discussions regarding SEN Transport at a local level and this has resulted in improved outcomes for children and young people and/or improvements to the service.
How to respond
Please email email@example.com to confirm that you are in agreement with the key issues listed and provide any further comments that you would like the NNPCF to include in their response, including any examples of good practice.
The NNPCF would encourage individual forums to respond directly to this consultation.
NNPCF Policy Team