School transport for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities is a major concern for parents and schools. The quality of the transport provision can make a significant difference to how the child arrives at school in the morning or home at the end of the school day.
The new SEND Code of Practice outlines local authorities’ responsibilities in regard to this very important factor in supporting children and young people with SEND:
• The Local Offer must include information about arrangements for transport provision, including for those up to age 25 with an EHC plan, this should also include local authorities’ policy statements
• Local authorities must ensure that suitable travel arrangements are made where necessary to facilitate an eligible child’s attendance at school – as laid out in section 508B of the Education Act 1996
• Local authorities must publish a transport policy statement each year setting out the travel arrangements they will make to support young people aged 16-19 and learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities aged up to 25, to access further education
• Local authorities must include in their Local Offer information about:
– any specific arrangements for specialised transport
– any support available from the local authority or others with transport costs
– any support that is offered to children and young people to help them use transport, including public transport
– any training given to aid independent travel
Providing transport for pupils with special needs is expensive, but safety and quality of service are essential to meet the needs of our most vulnerable young people.
SEND is changing fast. Is your authority or organisation ready for the new SEND Code of Practice, or for the introduction of the new Education, Health and Care plans? Are you prepared for delivering services from 0-25 years? Is your local offer adequate? Do you understand the personalisation agenda? Are you really promoting independence and inclusion for all?
If you want to find out more I will be speaking on this topic at “Interchangeability 2014” in 2 weeks time.
This unique event brings together those involved in delivering safe and effective school transport systems from around the world, enabling the sharing of good practice, ideas and innovative solutions.
It will provide senior managers, SEN officers, transport managers, travel trainers, transport providers and college/school support staff with up to date information on the legislative changes taking effect from September 2014 and an opportunity to discuss the transport implications with special education experts.