Draft Post 16 Transport Policy Statement 2020/2021

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Last updated: 12 August 2020
Contents

We have taken the exceptional decision to suspend the charging policy for the academic year 2020/21, due to the uncertainty surrounding school attendance during the Coronavirus outbreak and to support families in this difficult economic climate.

To confirm this will mean that all Post 16 Transport provided by the Council for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), will be at no charge to parents / carers for the academic year 2020/21.

 

This statement is currently under consultation. Please visit our consultation hub for more information.

 

1. Policy statement

1.1 Introduction

Local Authorities have a duty to prepare and publish an annual Transport Policy Statement (TPS) specifying the arrangements for the provision of transport or otherwise that the authority considers it necessary to make, to facilitate the attendance of all persons of sixth form age receiving education or training.

There is no automatic entitlement to free home to school or college transport once a student is over 16 years and beyond statutory school age. Responsibility for making appropriate transport arrangements rests with a student and/or their parents/carers.

Students are now required to be in education, employment or training until their 18th birthday, which could involve mixing full time work with study, following an apprenticeship, continuing full time in school or college or combining part time training with volunteering. There has not, however, been any change to compulsory school age and consequently there is no extension to the entitlement to free transport beyond the end of secondary education (end of Year 11).

1.2 Summary of policy statement

Buckinghamshire Council’s determination is that every child and young person in Buckinghamshire achieves their full potential. We are committed to ensuring that students over 16 (including those with Education, Health and Care Plans up to the age of 25) have access to educational opportunities at school, college or other training establishment, enabling them to gain the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for them to pursue their chosen careers and, to meet the challenge of employment and personal development in the future. Part of this ambition is for as many young people as possible to travel independently to school, college or their place of training using a sustainable form of transport.

  • This policy statement is intended to provide information on travel/ transport arrangements that are available to young people who are over 16.
  • This policy applies to any young person who is living in Buckinghamshire. Students who do not reside in Buckinghamshire should refer to the transport policy and statement issued by their home Local Authority.
  • This statement is published in line with the statutory duties under the Education Act 1996, including s.509AA and s.509AB and takes into account the Department for Education statutory guidance - Post 16 transport to education and training - January 2019

1.3 Consultation

In writing this policy, a 4 week public consultation has been widely available via our website, aimed at the key list of stakeholders below:

  • Any other LAs it considers appropriate (e.g. cross border transport);
  • Governing bodies of schools and FE institutions;
  • The appropriate transport administration body for the area;
    • Persons who will be of 6th form age at the time of the transport policy statement and their parents;
    • Other bodies including education and training providers; higher education institutions, transport companies and authorities operating in the locality; public sector bodies; community groups; voluntary organisations and groups/organisations with an interest in disability issues should also be consulted where appropriate.

A similar exercise will be held each year prior to publication by 31 May.

2. Concessionary fares, passes and travel cards

1.1 Bus and rail operators in Buckinghamshire

Most bus and rail transport operators in Buckinghamshire offer special tickets for students. Further details are outlined below. Please contact the travel operator direct for further information.

Arriva; offer daily, weekly monthly and annual zone tickets for their buses.

Students are entitled to a student discount. Student NUS, ISIC, or College ID card and number will be needed to validate your ticket.

Chiltern Railways; offer season tickets for periods of a week, month, month + (a more flexible ticket) or a year.

Holders of monthly or longer Season Ticket or Travelcard Season Ticket valid to High Wycombe station can use their ticket for free travel on local Arriva buses within the High Wycombe urban area at any time of day, 7 days a week. Holders of monthly or longer Season Ticket or Travelcard Season Ticket valid to Aylesbury station can use their ticket for free travel on local Arriva, Silver Rider, Water Rider and Purple Route 7 buses within the Aylesbury urban area at any time of day, 7 days a week.

Holders of monthly or longer Season Ticket or Travelcard Season Ticket valid to Aylesbury Vale Parkway station can use their ticket for free travel Monday to Friday peak times on Arriva bus 16 to/from Steeple Claydon, Westcott, Quainton and Waddesdon.

Carousel Buses; offer daily, weekly and monthly zone tickets. There are a number of special discounts for Buckinghamshire College Group students.

16-25 Railcards; Railcards are available for full-time students between the age of 16 and 25 years. This allows holder to receive one-third off most off-peak rail fares.

Citizen Card; Buckinghamshire residents aged 16 and 17 are entitled to the 'Make More Citizen Card'. The Citizen Card entitles card holders to travel on buses at a reduced single fare within Arriva's Aylesbury and Wycombe zone and Carousel Buses' zones 1, 2 and 3. The card is only valid for journeys after 9am on weekdays and all day at weekends. It should be noted that this option would not be suitable for journeys to school as the card is valid after the school day starts.

Other transport providers; may offer discount schemes, please contact them direct for details.

Please see our bus timetables for more details.

 

2.2 Travel schemes offered by colleges

The following colleges also operate their own schemes; please contact the college directly for further information.

  • Buckinghamshire College Group (campuses at Aylesbury, Wycombe & Amersham)
  • Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA)
  • Buckinghamshire University Technical College (UTC)
  • Henley College
  • Other colleges may be able to assist with transport costs. For further information please contact the Student Services department of the college
  • Paid-for Travel Scheme for Post 16 Students

Where there is spare capacity on home to school buses, places may be sold to post 16 students who do not qualify for any other transport provision. The Paid-for Travel Scheme fare rate is available on the Paid-for school transport and Post-16 Transport web pages. For more information and to apply for a place please visit paid-for school transport

  • What to do if your travel pass is lost or stolen

If your travel pass provided by the Council is lost or stolen, you will need to contact us via online to request a replacement. You must quote your student reference number, name, address and date of birth. To confirm there will be a £13 charge for a travel pass replacement.

3. Help with travel costs - students 16-19

3.1 The 16-19 vulnerable bursary fund

A key priority of the Government is to close the gap in attainment between those from different economic backgrounds, and to ensure every young person participates in and benefits from a place in 16-19 education and/or training.

Bursaries for defined vulnerable groups are available up to £1,200 a year for the most vulnerable groups. This includes:

  • young people in care
  • care leavers
  • young people claiming Income Support or Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves or supporting themselves and dependents
  • young people in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment in their own right as well as Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit in their own right

The bursary is paid if young people meeting the above eligibility criteria are in financial need. Applications are facilitated through the school or college which the student attends; therefore, enquiries should be directed to the school or college in the first instance.

Further information on the eligibility criteria for this bursary can be found on the GOV.UK website

3.2 Discretionary bursaries

Discretionary funding may also be available to support students in accessing further education. This funding is managed locally and institutions are able to award this funding to any student that is facing genuine financial barriers to participation. Institutions set their own eligibility criteria, decide on how much is paid, and they set their own conditions for students to meet in order to receive a bursary; for example, linked to behaviour or attendance or help with travel costs.

To find out if you are eligible for a discretionary bursary please contact your school or college.

4. Mileage allowance

If you are eligible to receive free home to school transport but the Council has confirmed it is unable to provide suitable transport for your child, we will pay the full costs for you to provide transport yourself. Payment will cover the cost of two return journeys per day of attendance at school (i.e. all four legs of the journeys).

Where the Council can provide suitable transport and the parent voluntarily agrees a mileage arrangement with us, payment will cover the cost of one return journey per day of attendance at school (i.e. two legs of the journey).

5. Independent travel training

5.1       Buckinghamshire Council travel training

The Council is working with schools and colleges to promote a programme of Independent Travel Training, supporting young people as they transition to adulthood, so that students can develop the skills, confidence and knowledge to enable them to use transport safely. This programme of support would aim to enable a young person to become an independent traveller, covering topics such as road safety, personal safety, money management, journey planning and coping strategies.

For some students Independent Travel Training (ITT) would not be appropriate due to their complex needs, but where students have the potential to benefit from Independent Travel Training we would support these students to take part in the programme.

The Council has been running sessions with schools on this consistent approach and our aim is that schools will be in a position to offer Independent Travel Training in early 2021.

5.2 Travel training by schools and colleges

Many schools and colleges already provide a travel training scheme locally as part of their learning offer for students, and families are encouraged to support this. For more details on these local schemes please contact your school or college directly. 

6. Travel for students with SEND

There is also support available for learns with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  

6.1 Buckinghamshire Council's scheme

Students may be able to get help with travel if they live in Buckinghamshire area and are unable to travel independently because they:

  • are unable to access a viable public transport system
  • have Special Educational Needs, a disability or mobility difficulty

You can join this scheme if you live in Buckinghamshire and:

  • are under 19 years of age or started a course before your 19th birthday and have an EHCP with a named provision
  • the programme of learning is full-time (i.e. at least 540 plus guided learning (planned and funded) hours per year)
  • are unable to access a viable public transport system due to your Special Educational Needs, disability or mobility difficulty
  • live more than 3 miles from the school / college (education provider), as measured by us, or you are unable to walk the distance to school / college because of Special Educational Needs, a disability or mobility difficulty
  • are attending the nearest establishment that provides the full time programme of learning or work placement that they wish to follow. Assistance with travel may be provided in exceptional circumstances to an establishment that is not the nearest, but is within a reasonable distance of the nearest establishment. In the case of a student with an EHCP the establishment must be named in the plan and if more than one is named, be the nearest to the home address
  • transport will only be provided on the normal scheduled start and end times of the school / college day

Where a student has a learning difficulty or a disability, transport needs will be assessed as part of the annual review process with the SEN team. Where it is deemed that students continue to be eligible for council transport, a referral form will be sent to parents / carers to be completed and returned to the transport team.

Young people commencing Post-16 provision who have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will have the name of the Post-16 institution that they will be attending named in that Plan.

Should a young person with an EHCP choose to attend a Post 16 institution other than that which is named in their EHCP, then this may impact on the level of travel assistance that can be provided.

6.2 What transport will be provided?

Students who have been assessed and are eligible for council transport will be allocated transport or travel assistance appropriate to their assessed needs. This may be specialised if they require equipment to enable them to be transported. In other cases they may receive a travel pass for either a dedicated school bus (6th form / year 12 eligible students) or public transport service. We have the right to limit places to a specific service that is available only at the beginning and end of a normal academic day. We do not issue travel passes for single outward or homeward journeys only.

7. Appeals about eligibility

The Council has a 2 stage review process for parents/carers who wish to challenge a decision to cease or alter transport arrangements;

  • the transport arrangements offered
  • their child/young person’s eligibility
  • the distance measurement in relation to statutory walking distances
  • the suitability of the route

7.1 Stage 1 – Appeal

Parents/carers have 20 working days to request a review of our decision about home to school transport. Parents should write to us, detailing why the decision should be reviewed, giving details of any personal/family circumstances and including any supporting evidence to be considered.

The decision will be reviewed by a senior officer or via the Transport Exceptions Panel (TEP). Within 20 working days of receipt of this letter parents will be advised in writing of the appeal decision.

7.2 Stage 2 - Review by an independent appeal panel

Parents/carers have 20 working days from the receipt of our Stage 1 written decision notification to make a written request to escalate the matter to Stage 2. Within 40 working days of receipt of the parents/carers’ request, an independent appeal panel will consider written and verbal representations from both the parent/carer and officers involved in the case and will give a detailed written notification of the outcome within 5 working days of the panel meeting.

The independent appeal panel is made up of trained volunteers who have experience of transport issues. These volunteers are independent of the council.

7.3 Stage 3 - complaint to Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

Parents/carers can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman only if they consider that:

  • there was a failure to comply with the procedural rules
  • if there are any other irregularities in the way the appeal has been handled

For further information please contact the admissions team

8. Support for students with learning disabilities aged 19-25

8.1 Young adults 19-25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan

There are additional responsibilities under Section 508F and Section 508G of the Education Act 1996 for the Local Authority to provide transport for young adults which it considers necessary.   To be eligible for transport free of charge under this policy the person must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an adult aged between 19 and 25 years with an EHC Plan;
  • Live in the Local Authority area;
  • Be attending:
  • A further education establishment;
  • An establishment maintained or assisted by the local authority and providing further or higher education (or both);
  • An establishment outside the further and higher education sectors, where the local authority has secured education or training and boarding accommodation for that learner;
  • The establishment’s provision must be an essential requirement to fulfil the learning outcomes identified in the learner’s Education, Health and Care Plan;
  • The establishment must be more than three miles away from the learner’s home address; or within three miles if the learner is unable to walk that distance as a result of his or her disability and/or learning difficulty, even if accompanied; or within three miles if the route has been assessed by the local authority as unsuitable for pedestrian use;
  • The learner is unable due to his or her disability and/or learning difficulty to use public transport independently.

Please contact your social worker direct for more information.

For advice on financial support to access higher education please contact Student Finance England on 0300 100 0607.

8.2 Young adults 19-25 without an Education, Health and Care Plan

A contribution towards transport costs may be exceptionally available from our Adults and Health Directorate for young adults with a learning difficulty and/ or disability aged 19-25, who do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan. This will be dependent on the young adult being assessed as eligible under the Care Act 2014 and education forming part of the assessed eligible need.

In these circumstances, transport to and from the education provider may be taken into account, but would be subject to Charging Policy for Non-Residential Services 

All enquiries with regard to transport support from Adults and Health Directorate should be made through the Community Reablement Team

8.3 Motability allowance

Young adults aged 19-25 with a learning difficulty and / or disability may also be eligible for a Motability Allowance, depending on the nature of their primary need. For further details please visit the Motability website

9. Further information and key contacts

  • Eligibility Enquiries; Integrated Special Educational Needs & Disabilities Service
  • In the first instance please contact your named SEN Officer
  • Further area contact details (based on which school / college the student attends) are as follows;

Aylesbury SEND area hub

Chesham and South Bucks SEND area hub

Wycombe SEND area hub

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