If your child lives in Surrey and has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) you may be eligible for assistance with travel to their school, college or education placement. Full details of eligibility can be found in the September 2019 Travel Assistance Policy (PDF).
If your child does not have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), or is currently undergoing an assessment for an EHCP, please see School transport for children in mainstream school.
Children with a disability aged five and over who are living in Surrey may also be eligible for a free bus pass for disabled people. For further information please see eligibility and how to apply.
Travel Assistance is offered to children and young people who are:
SEND travel assistance for 4-16 years
Is my child eligible for free travel assistance?
Children aged 5-16 (and 4 year olds who are in reception), are eligible for free travel assistance if they are attending their nearest suitable school with places available, and this is:
- beyond 2 miles, and they are aged under 8; or
- beyond 3 miles, and they are aged between 8 and 16.
Is there any support for children with an EHCP who live relatively close to their school?
Some children who live within the statutory walking distance may be eligible for travel assistance. These children must also be attending their nearest suitable school with places available, but:
- they cannot walk to school in reasonable safety, even when they are accompanied by a responsible adult, or;
- their SEN or disability means they are unable to walk even short distances, even when they are accompanied by a responsible adult.
Eligibility for these children will be assessed on an individual basis, and may require a medical assessment.
Post 16 SEND travel assistance
Many young people with SEND are able to travel independently using public transport. These young people can take advantage of the following available schemes:
- Surrey Student Fare Card - reduced rate travel to the education provider for young people aged 16-18.
- Disabled person's bus pass
Who is eligible?
The council recognises that some young people will require additional support with travel to education or training. In order to be considered for travel assistance, a young person needs to:
- continue to hold an EHCP
- have started their current programme of education/training prior to their 19th birthday;
- be attending the nearest appropriate qualifying education provider (unless agreed otherwise stipulated within the EHCP) that is more than three miles walking distance from their home, unless the young person's disability impacts on their ability to walk this distance, or if the walking route is deemed unsafe;
- be attending a full-time, non-advanced, publicly funded course of at least one academic year's duration;
- not be in receipt of help towards their travel costs from any other source (with the exception of the Surrey's Student Fare Card).
Where it is agreed that additional assistance is required, the local authority will ask students who are starting a new course of study in September 2019 or their parents/carers to contribute towards transport costs during 2019/20, as follows:
- £543.30 for the academic year for students whose families are in receipt of the maximum Working Tax Credit and /or who continue to meet the eligibility criteria for Free School Meals; students in care; care leavers; those on Income Support/Universal Credit in their own right; disabled young people who receive Employment Support Allowance/Universal Credit and either Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment in their name, or
- £751.50 for the academic year for all other students.
This charge will not apply during 2019/20 to students who are continuing on a course of study that they started before September 2019 and who are still deemed eligible for travel assistance. However, where travel assistance is provided for a student aged 16 or over with an EHCP from September 2020 (whether on a new or continuing course), Surrey County Council will introduce a charge.
More information on the decision to charge a contribution to students who are eligible for travel assistance and starting a new course of study in September 2019 is available in our frequently asked questions.
Travel assistance will normally take one of two forms
- reimbursement of train and/or bus travel, in excess of the parent/carer contribution for students who are starting a new course of study in 2019/20, where students are able to travel independently on public transport;
- independent travel allowance where students are not able to travel independently, but where parents or carers are able to provide transport . For students who are starting a new course of study in 2019/20, the contribution will be deducted before the travel allowance is paid.
In exceptional cases, the council may make alternative arrangements, including contracted minibus or taxi transport, to support the young person to access their education but, for students who are starting a new course of study in 2019/20, the student/parent/carer will be required to contribute to the cost.
Pupils staying on in education after Year 11 will need to reapply for travel assistance on an annual basis, so that eligibility can be reassessed. Where a young person changes school/college after 16, his or her eligibility will be re-assessed, and he/she will also need to reapply for travel assistance each year.
What types of assistance are available?
- Independent Travel Allowance - can be used flexibly by families and young people where necessary, to help fund their own transport arrangements. The allowance can help towards the costs of running a family car, or paying another member of the family or trusted friend to take your child/young person to school when you are unable to.
- Option to share school runs with the council – you transport your child/young person some or most of the time (on set, regular days), and the council covers the days or times that you can't do.
- Assistance with getting your other children/young people to school - so that you can take your SEND child/young person, where this is the most cost-effective option.
- Support for independent travel - the council can support your child/young person with the cost of a bus/train pass if they are able to travel independently.
- Independent travel training - supporting young people to gain skills and confidence to be able to travel independently to school or college.
- Transport on wheels - where other options are not suitable, the council will organise transport for eligible children and young people. Pupils will normally travel with other children/young people attending the same, or nearby school/college, unless there are exceptional circumstances preventing them from travelling in this way.
Apply for travel assistance
An online application form needs to be completed to apply for travel assistance. Once we have received your application, we may contact your child's SEN caseworker for further information.
If you have any questions in regards to applying for travel assistance, please contact us via email: email@example.com
Parent/Carer Transport Forum - November 2018
Read the questions and answers, comments and suggestions noted from the Parent/Carer Transport Forum - November 2018 (PDF).
Files available to download
- A guide to SEND Travel assistance for 4-16 year olds - 2018-19 (607.8 KB)
Explaining the variety of SEND travel assistance options available for 4-16 year olds in 2018-2019
- Travel Assistance Policy for children and young people with an EHCP or SSEN aged 0-25 years (546.4 KB)
Surrey County Council is introducing a new model of travel assistance for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to better support them to get to school, college or placement through a broader, more flexible range of assistance options.
- SEND Travel Assistance Exceptional Request Form (168.9 KB)
Form to complete if the SEND Travel Assistance Team have advised that you are not eligible for assistance.
- Parent Carer Transport Forum notes 8 November 2018 (233.8 KB)
Notes from the Parent Carer Transport Forum November 2018, including details of question and answer sessions, comments and suggestions