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Visual Impairment :
Special Educational Needs
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HOME SCHOOL TRANSPORT

Home/school transport creates problems for children not educated at the nearest school. It is normally the parents’ responsibility to ensure their children can travel to school. The qualifying distances for home school transport are 2 miles for children under 8 and 3 miles for those over 8. The LAs will normally only fund transport to the nearest appropriate school, which, for SEN pupils, refers to a school which has the facilities, staff and resources to meet the child’s needs.

In the case of many VI children mobility is an issue as the child would be unable to walk to school, even if the school is nearby, and crossing roads would make the journey hazardous, so in these cases the LA should provided transport.

If the LA agrees to a placement at another school the EHCP may specify that this is parental choice. In theses cases the LA will not fund the transport cost.

Generally LAs base their transport policies on the Dept of Education guidelines.

Click here to go to the DoE guideline page.

Special educational needs, a disability or mobility problems eligibility

  • make transport arrangements for all children who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their mobility problems or because of associated health and safety issues related to their special educational needs (SEN) or disability. Eligibility, for such children should be assessed on an individual basis to identify their particular transport requirements. Usual transport requirements (e.g. the statutory walking distances) should not be considered when assessing the transport needs of children eligible due to SEN and/or disability.

Unsafe route eligibility

  • make transport arrangements for all children who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to nearest suitable school because the nature of the route is deemed unsafe to walk.

The SEN Code of Practice gives additional guidance :

9.214 The parents or young person’s preferred school or college might be further away from their home than the nearest school or college that can meet the child or young person’s SEN. In such a case, the local authority can name the nearer school or college if it considers it to be appropriate for meeting the child or young person’s SEN. If the parents prefer the school or college that is further away, the local authority may agree to this but is able to ask the parents to provide some or all of the transport funding.

9.215 Transport should be recorded in the EHC plan only in exceptional cases where the child has particular transport needs. Local authorities must have clear general arrangements and policies relating to transport for children and young people with SEN or disabilities that must be made available to parents and young people, and these should be included in the Local Offer. Such policies must set out the transport arrangements which are over and above those required by section 508B of the Education Act 2006.

9.216 Where the local authority names a residential provision at some distance from the family’s home, the local authority must provide reasonable transport or travel assistance. The latter might be reimbursement of public transport costs, petrol costs or provision of a travel pass.

9.217 Transport costs may be provided as part of a Personal Budget where one is agreed and included in the EHC plan as part of the special educational provision.

Local authorities have their own policies and guidance. Gov.uk has a web page which allows you to input your postcode and it will load the LA's home school transport page which should include details of applying for free transport for SEN pupils.

Click here to go to this page.