School and College Transport Assistance

Guidance Notes for Primary and Secondary School Transport Assistance

For students aged 4 to 16 2021/22 (Reception class to Year 11)

Introduction

Parents are responsible for their child's school attendance and travel. There are some circumstances where we can help with transport. We believe that all school journeys should be considered with sustainability and the health and wellbeing of children in mind. The following list of transport modes should be used in priority order.

  1. walking
  2. cycling
  3. bus or train
  4. car share (with members of a different household)
  5. car

For bus routes and timetables call Travel Line on 0871 200 2233 (calls cost 12p per minute 7am to 10pm daily) or visit them online.

Transport to selective schools is arranged by the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex and you can contact their Transport Office on 01245 281194 or online.

Cycle Southend can provide information on Bikeability training and cycle routes on 01702 215003 or visit their website.

Students with Special Needs

Students with additional needs or an active Education, Health and Care Plan are also expected to fulfil the eligibility criteria.

If public transport is required, please complete an online application after reading the  guidance notes relevant to the student’s age.

If you feel public transport is not suitable for the student’s individual needs and you wish to apply for another form of travel assistance, then a Request for Travel Assistance Form should be completed. This form asks you to provide more individual detail about the student.

When submitting the completed form for assessment, please ensure it is accompanied by any relevant medical evidence and a copy of the student’s Disability Living Allowance (or Personal Independence Payment) award letter if they have one.

Please email or call the Transport Entitlement Officer on 01702 215007 to request the relevant form.

Any request that does not fulfil the criteria can be considered as an appeal by the Multi Agency panel – please call the Transport Entitlement Officer to discuss any of this if you are unsure.

General guidance

1. Parental preference will not be funded. If you choose to send your child to a school or college that is not their nearest school (or in the case of secondary pupils of low income families one of the nearest three schools) then free transport to that school will not be available, even if you later become an eligible low income family.

2. The child must be resident within the Borough. Where a child lives at two addresses during a school week the address to which the child benefit is paid is taken as the home address for transport purposes.

3. Distances for each year group are set by relevant legislation (the Education Act 1996) and are walking distances which can differ greatly to driving distances. The Local Authority use specialist mapping software which gives accurate walking distances from the gate of the student’s home to the nearest entrance gate of the school. Some websites give approximate distances which can differ greatly from these.

4. It is your responsibility to ensure that you re-apply at the beginning of each academic year. The transport policy is kept under constant review and the most efficient and effective option available to the Council at the time of application will be used. Transport is assessed and awarded taking into account the local transport infrastructure as well as other factors, therefore it is not always possible to comply with parents requests for boarding points and modes of travel. Any transport provided can be withdrawn should there be any change in circumstances on either side.

5. You may state your preferred boarding point and where possible we will issue this transport. However, this may not always be possible due to potential overcrowding or routing issues.

6. Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Code of Conduct for Transport must be adhered to by all users.

7. There are additional guidance notes for Special Educational Needs/Disabled and Post 16 students.

Applications for all year groups

If you think you are eligible please complete the application form.

  • a passport photo may be required at the time of issuance of a pass, and parents/carers are responsible for the cost of providing this. There is no photo booth facility at the Civic Centre. Digital images taken and printed by you are accepted as long as they conform to the rules found on GOV.UK
  • those attending a Denominational (Faith) School must present a form signed by their celebrant
  • applications for the start of 2021/22 academic year must be received by 22nd July 2021 in order for it to be processed for the first day of the autumn term
  • applications can take up to 10 working days. However, during July to September applications can take longer
  • there is no facility to come in and wait whilst your application is being processed as all applications are assessed on a strictly first come, first served basis
  • if a pass is approved it will be posted to the address provided in the application

Primary Schools

Infant age children (Reception to Year 2) and Junior age children (Year 3 to Year 6) – travel assistance will only be provided if the pupil:

Criteria and supporting information for travel assistance for Primary age children
Section Criteria Notes
A Lives at least 2 miles from and attends the nearest infant, junior or primary school; or Details of catchment schools can be found on our admissions pages but the criteria is for nearest school.
B Lives between 2 and 15 miles from and attends the nearest denominational school to which the parents adhere, with vacancies in the appropriate year group, and where the parents are in receipt of the appropriate benefits; or You will need to gain your celebrants signature on the application form and provide the latest copy of your benefit paperwork.
C Is unable to be offered a place at their nearest school and lives at least 2 miles from and attends the next nearest infant, junior or primary school with vacancies in the appropriate year group. You will need to provide proof that you have applied for your nearest school to qualify on these grounds.

Secondary Schools

Secondary age children (Year 7 to Year 11) – travel assistance will only be provided if a pupil:

Criteria and supporting information for travel assistance for Secondary School age children
Section Criteria Notes
A Lives at least 3 miles from and attends the nearest non-selective secondary school; or Details of catchment schools can be found on our admissions pages but the criteria is for nearest school.
B Is unable to be offered a place at their nearest non- selective school and lives at least 3 miles from and attends the next nearest non selective school with vacancies in the appropriate year group; or You will need to provide proof that you have applied for your nearest school and next nearest until you were able to gain a place to qualify under this criteria.
C Is studying for GCSEs, moves home during year 1 0 or 11 and attends a school at least 3 miles from their new home address. You will need to provide proof of your move date e.g. Council Tax demand. Please note students in years 7 to 9 are not eligible in these circumstances.
D Has been awarded a place at a selective school provided that:
  1. They have sat and passed the selective test; and
  2. They attend a selective school within the Borough of Southend-on-Sea which is at least 2 miles from the pupil’s home; and
  3. The pupil is eligible to receive Free School Meals or their parent/carer is in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.
You will need to provide proof of your benefits dated within one month of your application.

In addition secondary pupils whose families are on low income (as defined below) are entitled to receive travel assistance in the following circumstances:

Additional criteria and supporting notes for Low Income Households
Section Criteria Notes
1 They attend one of the three closest schools between 2 and 6 miles from their home address - this does not apply to selective schools (see section D). You will need to provide proof of your benefits dated within one month of your application.
2 Lives between 2 and 15 miles from and attends the nearest denominational school to which the parents adhere, with vacancies in the appropriate year group. You will need to gain your celebrants signature on the application form and provide proof of your benefits dated within one month of your application.

Criteria for Secondary aged pupils from low income families

  1. Child eligible for Free School Meals*or
  2. Parent in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit**

*To  be eligible to receive free school meals, the parent/carer must be in receipt of either: Income Support; Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance; Income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your recent assessment periods, evidenced by your most recent journal); support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; the guarantee element of State Pension Credit; Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,105); or the Working Tax Credit ‘run on’ - the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit. The child’s eligibility should be registered with their school.

**Your Working Tax Credit award notice shows how your tax credits are calculated. Within this calculation the ‘reduction due to income’ must show £00.00 to be in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.

Please register your child’s eligibility for Free School Meals before applying for transport.

Decisions

Application decisions will be notified to parents/carers in writing, either by post or email according to how their application was submitted.

Appeals:

Please see the Appeals Process page.

Exceptional Circumstances:

If you do not fulfil the eligibility criteria, but you have exceptional circumstances that you would like to be considered, full details must be provided in writing.

Exceptional circumstance transport is normally only provided for short term medical reasons or emergency housing, and is not normally extended beyond a limited period.

If you wish to make such a request, please make your initial enquiry by email. If you do not have internet access you can do this at the Civic Centre on the ground floor.

Contact Schools and Learning

Telephone: 01702 215007

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