Home to school travel assistance
The council provides travel assistance to some children and young people who need help getting to and from school. This may be because of the distance they live from their nearest educational setting, their age, type of special educational need or disability.
Applications for travel assistance are reviewed annually and eligibility is based on assessment of individual need.
The council has a duty to consider the transport needs of children and to publish a policy on home to school transport. The policy determines eligibility for travel assistance and the types of travel assistance that might be provided. This may include:
- the provision of a bus pass
- support towards mileage costs
- reimbursement of rail/tube fare
- providing an escort to accompany a child to school
- an independent travel training programme
- in some cases transport by a bus or minibus or transport in an accessible bus or minibus
Where travel on a vehicle is provided it will be provided to and from a collection point to school, or in cases where the child has severe and multiple needs a home collection may be agreed.
Transport assistance is provided free of charge. Waltham Forest has overall responsibility for commissioning the service and will co-ordinate the parties involved. Primary responsibility for determining the travel needs of each child rests with officers of Waltham Forest who are guided by the council's policy.
The council has contracted CT Plus to undertake the day-to-day running of transport for children attending schools in Waltham Forest. For children attending schools outside of the borough the council has contracted Ladycars, Waltham Forest Community Transport and London Borough of Redbridge. Independent travel training is being provided for young people to support their development of independence for adult life through an organisation called DABD.
The Disability Enablement Service (DES) is responsible for determining the travel needs of children through submission of an application form. It is important that we work together to deliver high quality services to families in genuine need and reduce inefficiencies wherever possible.
Parents who wish to use the offered service must:
- ensure that their child is ready at the scheduled pick up time
- be at home/pick up point to receive the child after school
- treat school staff, escorts, drivers and pupils in a courteous and respectful manner
- provide two emergency telephone contact numbers
- inform the SEN team of any change of address in advance and give as much notice as possible to make any changes to transport routes required, without affecting the continuous school attendance of that child
The quality of the service will be monitored to ensure that the performance standard is met. The transport contractor's performance will be reviewed and this information will be shared with the council. Parents and schools will be surveyed each year to determine the level of satisfaction with the service.
Schools can help by:
- ensuring that sufficient staff members are on hand at the scheduled drop-off times to accept children into the school. Drop off times may be staggered to help reduce traffic congestion around larger schools and to aid efficient scheduling
- ensuring that children are ready promptly at the scheduled collection time
- assisting with the review of transport requirements each year by carefully considering each child's transport needs and providing appropriate information at the annual review of statement of special educational needs
- providing timely notice of variations in transport requirements
A young person is entitled to apply for travel support if all the following conditions are met:
- Age must be 16 but under 19 at the start of the academic year in which the course begins
- They must be attending college on a full-time basis
- They must be attending the nearest appropriate school or college, having taken account of the young person's needs, chosen course of study and any preference on grounds of faith
- The distance from home to the place of study must be more than three miles
- He/she or their family are in receipt of one of the following benefits:
- Income Support or jobseeker's Allowance (income-based)
- Child Tax Credit but NOT also Working Tax Credit and have annual taxable income within HMRC specified maximum limits for financial year relevant to the course dates undertaken
- Financial support under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) or the local authority's Asylum Resettlement Team
- The young person has previously had a statement of Special Education Needs, and the need for travel support post 16 is explicit in their transition plan
Applications for young people aged 16+ should be fully discussed when planning their transition at their Year 9, 10 and 11 annual reviews and must include the views of the young person. Applications should be made to the SEN team as early as possible. Contact the SEN transport officer on 020 8496 6500 for details.
In the event of snow, if your child is taken to school on a vehicle arranged by the local authority please note:
- if all roads are covered in snow there will be no school transport and the special schools will not be open
- if the main roads are cleared but the side roads are not cleared it is unlikely that transport will be running, CT Plus will do their best to let you know on the day or telephone them on 020 8509 9140
If all the roads are clear and transport is able to run please check that the schools are open:
- Brookfield House will have a message on their website to inform parents
- Joseph Clarke School ask that parents ring the school each morning on 020 8523 4833 or check this web page for updates with regard to the school closing
- Whitefield School will text message all parents if they have a mobile number or if not they will telephone parents
- William Morris School ask that parents ring the school 020 8503 2225
If you take your own child to school or they use public transport please check that your school is open.
The type of travel assistance
If you have a complaint about the type of assistance that has been awarded by the SEN Team you have the right of appeal to ask for a review of the decision. If after the decision is reviewed you are still not happy then you can make an appeal to the Travel Assistance Appeals Panel. The panel meets once a month to hear parents' appeals. You will be sent an appeal form and advised of the panel date. You will have the opportunity to attend the panel if you wish. You will receive the decision one week from the panel meeting date. To appeal contact:
Client Relationship officer
Wood Street Health Centre
6 Linford Road
Walthamstow E17 3LA
Tel: 020 8496 6500
Waltham Forest's contracts team is responsible for monitoring the service provided by the transport providers. If you are not happy with the response you receive to your complaint made to any of the transport providers you can make this known to the council.
The contracts manager will investigate your complaint under the council's complaints process at stage 1. You will receive an acknowledgement letter within three days and a full response within 20 working days. The person to contact in the contracts team is:
Waltham Forest Borough Council
Room 100, Waltham Forest Town Hall,
701 Forest Road
London E17 4JF
Tel: 0208 496 3255
First floor Wood Street Health Centre
Tel: 0208 496 6503
Mob: 07741 843646.
For day-to-day operational issues e.g. your child is ill or unable to attend school, holidays, delays in service etc, please contact:
- CT Plus - tel: 020 8509 9140 for children attending schools in Waltham Forest
- Ladycars - tel: 020 8558 8510
- Waltham Forest Community Transport - tel: 020 8521 0665
- For children following an independent travel training programme - please contact DABD on 020 8526 8062.