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Post-16 travel assistance for SEND students

1. Personal Transport Budgets

This is money that is given to families with children who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), and who are eligible for transport to help them to get to their school or educational setting.
It gives families the freedom and flexibility to make their own travel arrangements rather than relying on transport that is organised by us.
You can use a Personal Transport Budget in any way you want to make sure your child goes to their school or setting every day, is picked up and dropped off on time and is ready to learn.
To find out more visit our personal transport budget webpage.

2. Council organised transport for an annual fee

If you choose to receive transport arranged by us, you will need to pay an annual fee. The annual fee is regardless of the distance travelled to the setting.

The annual fee will be based on the number of days that the student will be attending their school or setting at the beginning of the academic year. These cannot be swapped or reduced once the transport has been arranged, however, it may be possible to arrange transportation for extra days for an additional cost.

If they attend for less than five days a week, the annual fee will be pro-rata, as follows:

Number of days travelled per week Annual fee 2021/2022 academic year Annual fee 2022/23 academic year

5 days per week

£900

£927

4 days per week

£720

£742

3 days per week

£540

£556

2 days per week

£360

£371

1 day per week

£180

£185

Reduced annual fee for financial hardship

When you apply for transport you can apply for a reduced annual fee if you can demonstrate financial hardship.

You will need to provide supporting evidence of the financial circumstances for your household when you make your transport application.

To qualify for the reduced charge, the following would be required:

  • evidence of receiving Income Support / Universal Credit
  • evidence that your household income is less than £21,000 before any deductions

This could be:

  • bank statement (one full month)
  • P60 certificate or last three payslips
  • benefits award statement

If they attend for less than five days a week, the reduced annual fee will be pro-rata, as follows:

Number of days travelled per week

Reduced annual fee 2021/22 academic year

Reduced annual fee 2022/23 academic year

5 days per week

£600

£618

4 days per week

£480

£494

3 days per week

£360

£371

2 days per week

£240

£247

1 day per week

£120

£124

3. Help with travel costs

Public buses and trains

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.

Visit our buses and trains webpage for information about public buses and trains in Buckinghamshire.

Please be aware that travel operators set their fares and routes independently of the Council so the details provided below may change at short notice. Before travelling please contact the travel operator direct for up to date route and fare information.

Arriva

Arriva offer daily, weekly, monthly and annual Student Saver tickets for their bus routes. Students are entitled to a student discount on production of a valid student card i.e. an NUS, ISIC, or College ID card.

Chiltern Railways

Chiltern Railways offer season tickets for periods of a week, month, over a month or a year.

Holders of monthly or longer season tickets or Travelcard season tickets valid to High Wycombe station can currently use their ticket to travel free on local Arriva buses and Service 8 / X8 within the High Wycombe Town zone at any time of day, 7 days a week.

Holders of monthly or longer season tickets or Travelcard season tickets valid to Aylesbury station or Aylesbury Vale Parkway station can currently use their ticket to travel free on local Arriva, Silver Rider (Route 1), Water Rider (Routes 6 and 6A), Green (Route 4) and Service 14 buses within the Aylesbury fare zone at any time of day, 7 days a week.

Carousel Buses

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

Redline Buses, Red Rose Travel and Red Eagle

Redline Buses, Red Rose Travel and Red Eagle offer daily, weekly, 4 weekly and other time period zone tickets. They also offer a range of termly and annual student passes.

16-25 Railcard and 16-17 Saver

16-25 Railcards give people aged between 16 and 25 one-third off most off-peak rail fares. It should be noted that for all journeys made between 4.30am and 10.00am Monday to Friday a minimum fare of £12 is payable.

The 16-17 Saver gives 16 and 17 year olds 50% off most rail fares every day of the year with no time restrictions and no minimum fare. There are some tickets and routes where the 16-17 Saver cannot be used.

Yoti CitizenCard

Buckinghamshire residents aged 16 and 17 can get discounted bus travel with a Yoti CitizenCard. This proof of age card allows you to travel on some buses within Buckinghamshire for a reduced single fare.

The Yoti CitizenCard is available free of charge via Buckinghamshire schools and colleges, or for a reduced cost of £5 from CitizenCard (normal cost £15).

The card is only valid for journeys after 9am on weekdays and all day at weekends and bank holidays.

Other transport providers

Other transport providers may offer discount schemes. Please contact them direct for details.

Travel Schemes offered by colleges

The following colleges operate their own travel schemes. Please contact the colleges directly for further information.

Other colleges may be able to assist with transport costs. For further information please contact the Student Services department of the college.

Bursary schemes

If you pay for transport arranged by us, you can apply for financial support through the bursary schemes that are managed by your child’s school or setting. If you receive a bursary award, your school or setting will pay this directly to you.

There are two types of bursaries which students can apply to for financial assistance.

See more information on financial help at college and university.

Severe financial hardship

If you are experiencing severe financial hardship, you can apply to our Post-16 Transport Exceptions Panel review process.

We will consider applications and if severe financial hardship is evidenced, we can:

  • delay or extend the payment period for the reduced annual fee
  • reduce the annual fee further
  • waive the annual fee completely

Eligibility criteria 

To be eligible for consideration, you must demonstrate that:
  • you have applied for the reduced annual fee in your original application for transport and the reduced annual fee has already been awarded
  • you have applied to your child’s educational setting for one of the two bursary schemes and have received an outcome decision
  • the reduced annual fee is not affordable because you would not be able to meet your essential living needs by paying the charge

You will need to provide supporting evidence of the financial circumstances for your household which evidence the eligibility criteria, as well as evidence of application to bursary schemes.

Family circumstances such as receiving benefits or being a single parent household are not sufficient reasons alone for agreeing an application. However, they may be taken into account if there are also other reasons that together represent severe financial hardship.

In making a decision, we will consider whether sufficient evidence of severe financial hardship has been demonstrated.

If the financial hardship is likely to be temporary, we may be able to delay or extend the period over which the reduced annual fee will be paid. We can consider reducing the annual fee further to a level that is reasonable to enable you to meet your essential living needs. Where there is evidence that the financial hardship is likely to be long-lasting and very severe, we will consider waiving the annual fee completely.

To apply to the Post-16 Transport Exceptions Panel review process please contact us.

For further information on bursaries please see our Post-16 Transport Policy Statement 2022/23 and our SEND bursary information webpage. 

4. Step by step guide to post-16 SEND transport

This page provides you with the most important information on post-16 SEND transport arrangements and a step by step guide through the application process.

 

Apply for post-16 SEND transport online and request your choice of transport option 

If the student is assessed as eligible for post-16 SEND transport, the Transport team will send you a link to an online SEND transport application form.

You will need to complete the online application form by the deadline stated. If you need help to complete the application form please contact us.

On the transport application form you will need to choose between applying for a Personal Transport Budget or requesting transport arranged by us for an annual fee. 

 

Personal Transport Budgets 

If you choose to apply for a Personal Transport Budget:

  1. we will contact you to discuss your family’s needs to determine the appropriate Personal Transport Budget amount
  2. we will write to you to confirm your Personal Transport Budget amount
  3. if you accept the Personal Transport Budget offer we will ask you to sign a parent/carer agreement and provide your bank details to receive the Personal Transport Budget payments
  4. we will set up your Personal Transport Budget and arrange for payments to start at the beginning of the Personal Transport Budget period

Please contact us if your personal circumstances change or you decide that you no longer want to receive a Personal Transport Budget. We might be able to help you with any problems that you have with your Personal Transport Budget 

If you decide that you no longer want to receive a Personal Transport Budget at any time, you can contact us to give 28 days notice of stopping the Personal Transport Budget. We will aim to make alternative transport arrangements within the 28 day period 

 

Transport arranged by us for an annual fee

If you choose to request transport arranged by us, you can apply for a reduced annual fee if you can demonstrate financial hardship.

To apply for the reduced fee you will need to upload evidence of financial hardship as part of your application.

You will also need to tell us on the online application form how many days the student requires transport for, as this determines the annual fee you pay. 

If you do not know how many days the student requires transport for when you complete the application form (for example, the student has not received their timetable), please contact us to tell us as soon as you know. 

We will write to you to confirm your annual fee amount and ask you to submit your Direct Debit instruction within 28 days. You can choose between paying the annual fee in one full payment by Direct Debit or by monthly instalments taken by Direct Debit.

If we do not know your number of transport days, we will:

  • ask you to submit your Direct Debit instruction within 28 days
  • confirm your annual fee amount once you have told us how many days transport are required 

If you applied for the reduced fee for financial hardship, we will confirm whether we have awarded the reduced fee to you. 

When we have received payment in full or your monthly Direct Debit instructions and your transport has been arranged, we will send you a letter to confirm the details of your transport provider. 

If you do not make payment in full or provide your Direct Debit instructions within 28 days, we cannot organise the transport to start.

If transport has already started, it will be withdrawn at the end of the next half-term. If this happens, we will write to you to confirm the date that transport will end.

 

Severe financial hardship

If you are experiencing severe financial hardship, you can apply for a review by our post-16 transport exceptions panel (TEP). You can do this either before the student’s transport starts or after it has started

To apply:

  1. contact us to request a post-16 TEP application form
  2. we will send you the application form
  3. you will need to complete the form and return it to us.

When you apply you must provide evidence that shows:

  • you have applied for the reduced annual fee in your original application for transport and the reduced annual fee has already been awarded
  • you have applied to your child’s educational setting for one of the two bursary schemes and have received an outcome decision
  • the reduced annual fee is not affordable because you would not be able to meet your essential living needs by paying the charge

We will not withdraw the student’s transport while the severe financial hardship panel review process is ongoing. 

We will consider applications and if severe financial hardship is evidenced, we can:

  • delay or extend the payment period for the reduced annual fee
  • reduce the annual fee further
  • waive the annual fee completely

We will write to you within 28 days of making our decision to confirm the outcome. We will adjust your Direct Debit payments if we decide to delay or extend the annual fee payment period, or if we reduce the annual fee amount.

If we decide to waive the annual fee completely, you will not need to pay at all.

5. Pay for SEND transport

Payments can be made by monthly or annually by direct debit. 

Deadline for post-16 SEND transport payments

If you choose to request transport arranged by us, we will write to you to confirm your annual fee amount and ask you to submit your Direct Debit instruction within 28 days. You can choose between paying the annual fee in one full payment by Direct Debit or by monthly instalments taken by Direct Debit.

If you do not tell us how many days transport are required, we will:
• ask you to submit your Direct Debit instruction within 28 days
• confirm your annual fee amount once you have told us how many days transport are required

If you do not make payment in full or provide your Direct Debit instructions within 28 days, we cannot organise the transport to start. If transport has already started, it will be withdrawn at the end of that half term. If this happens, we will write to you to confirm the date that transport will end. This is in line with our Post-16 Transport Policy Statement.

 

6. SEND bursary information

You can apply for financial support through the bursary schemes that are managed by schools and other educational settings. Any bursary awards granted by the school or setting will paid directly to you.

To find out if you are eligible and to apply, contact your educational setting directly for more information. 

There are two types of bursary. Details of each are provided below and there is more information available on the GOV.UK website.

 

Vulnerable Groups Bursary

The criteria for this bursary are set by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).  It is applicable to students who are:

  • in care 
  • care leavers 
  • receiving Income Support, or Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves or financially supporting themselves and someone who is dependent on them and living with them such as a child or partner 
  • receiving Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments in their own right as well as Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit in their own right 

Maximum amount: £1200.

 

Discretionary Bursary

The criteria for this bursary are set by the individual school/college/educational setting. The educational setting also decides on how much is paid. Please contact your educational setting directly for guidance on how to apply.

 

What happens next?

In both instances, your school or college will make the decision and let you know within about three weeks of your application if this has been successful.

If your application is not successful you can appeal the decision. Your school or college can provide the paperwork for your appeal and they will let you know their decision within 3 weeks.