Wandsworth Council has a duty to assist parents in the Borough by providing travel assistance in the following cases:
• If a child has Special Educational Needs/Disability with a Wandsworth EHCP; and
• if a child is under 8 years of age and lives over 2 miles from school
• if a child is aged 8 years or over and lives over 3 miles from school
In the above circumstances, the child must be attending the nearest suitable school (one which the Council considers suitable for the aptitude and ability of the child) and must be of statutory school age (aged 5-16). Walking distance is assessed by measuring the shortest route between home and school. It may be assumed that a child who is unable to undertake such a journey alone will be accompanied to school by a parent or carer unless this is shown not to be reasonably practicable.
Children with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) may be provided with travel assistance if they live within this distance, but it is not an automatic right. Children will be provided with travel assistance to school where this is deemed necessary in the light of the needs set out in their EHCPs.
As part of the current special educational needs and disability (SEND) Reforms the Government is adopting a new approach to special educational needs and disability. The aim is to give parents greater control, ensuring they are empowered to make decisions about their child and their support.
The Council has agreed more flexible approaches to offering travel assistance including travel card/ personal travel budgets and independent travel training, travel Buddy.
In the first instance travel assistance budgets (TABs) is the standard support option for children who are eligible for travel assistance on account of their Special Educational needs. The aim of TAB is to support families to take their own children to school, reduce journey times, and/or to support the independence of the young person and enable them to become independent travellers. It also gives parents/carers the flexibility to choose the mode of transport that suits their prevailing circumstances as the budget allows them to switch from one mode of transport to another.
The payments are split throughout the financial year and the money is paid at the start of school each term.
Independent travel training
The travel trainers work with young people to find out what help they need; this is done by an assessment. They will go with the young person on their journeys until they are confident on their own.
Training will be done one-to-one, judged on your child’s needs progressively. The training gives advice on all the events young people might find on their journeys.
• Personal and road safety awareness.
• Journey planning and preparing for a journey (what to take, what the weather might be like).
• Leaving the home safely (locking up if need be).
• How to cope with an emergency or unexpected circumstance (cancelled trains, missed stops).
• Using technology like travel cards and mobile phones.
Benefits of travel training
The training has many benefits including:
• The increased independence gives people improved confidence and self-esteem.
• Young people become less reliant on parents and carers to take them to places.
• It creates more opportunities to take part in social activities.
• People may be more likely to find themselves work or volunteering opportunities because they can travel.
Assessments for applications
Applications are assessed every two weeks at the Travel Assistance panel, the whole process can take up to four weeks.
The closing date for sending all application forms, including the new academic year (September 2022), will be on Friday 27th May 2022.
Applications sent in after this date may not be processed in time for the start of the new term (September 2022), and likely set up in time for the 2nd half of the Autumn term.
Appealing against the travel assistance decision
If you are not satisfied with the Travel Assistance decision, you do have 20 days to appeal. We will aim to respond within 20 working days (Stage 1 appeal) and 40 working days (Stage 2 appeal)
Please note it is important that you read the policy before lodging your complaint.
If you would like to apply for travel assistance or your child is currently receiving travel assistance, or you wish to report an absence or have a query/issue. Please the SEN travel assistance mailbox - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can call the phone numbers below for assistance.
• Applications, Appeals process, Travel Assistance Budget - 0208 871 7967/07946 664 461 (calls only)
• Taxi queries/issues - 020 8871 7977/07825 340 251 (calls only)
• Bus queries/issues - 020 8871 8015/07977 330 226 (calls only)
• Independent travel training queries/issues - 07890 027 215 (calls only)