Travel assistance for those aged 5 to 16 with SEND

1. Overview

Who gets travel assistance?

We provide free transport to school, for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in East Sussex who:

  • are under the age of 16 and
  • meet the criteria on either walking distance or low income

This is regardless of their SEND. More information can be found at:

We will consider the needs and circumstances of children who do not meet these criteria and have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. We will provide travel assistance for these children where necessary. We will consider their ability to walk to school (with an adult if needed) and other health and safety concerns related to their SEND.

We will only provide assistance when the child is attending the nearest suitable school to their home. This is the nearest maintained school to the child’s home that can meet the child’s needs. The EHC plan may name the parents’ or carers’ choice of school, but if the child’s needs could be met at a nearer school, the County Council may not provide assistance.

Young people aged over 16 and in school year 12 and above do not automatically get free school transport. See the travel assistance for those aged 16 to 19 with SEND section for further information:

If a child does not have an EHCP, but is unable to walk to school or use public transport due to a medical condition, or their parent/carer is unable to accompany them due to their own medical condition, we may still be able to provide assistance with transport. Please visit the following page for further information:

What support is available?

We will provide the most suitable travel assistance for the child. If the application is approved, this will be one of the following things:

  • Personal travel budget (PTB)
  • Independent travel training
  • Bus pass
  • Minibus or taxi: We normally provide shared vehicles. This could be a taxi or minibus depending on the number of children being transported. Occasionally we provide a separate taxi for those with complex needs or if there is no alternative

Children will usually only be transported at published school start and finish times. They may be expected to arrive earlier or leave later from school if sharing transport with other children where it is safe to do so. An offer of travel assistance may be part-week. We may ask for pickup and collection from another location or for parents or carers to assist with parts of a journey.

Travel assistance to respite on term time days can be requested. The County Council will consider these requests using the same criteria as for other travel assistance.

We will also consider applications for travel assistance to residential schools. In these cases, support will usually only be provided at the start and end of each half-term or each week depending on the boarding arrangements. We don’t provide transport at other times or for parental visits for meetings.

Further information on the assistance that we offer can be found in the information for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND):

How to apply

The 'apply for travel assistance' section provides more information on how to make an application.

If you require further information or support, please contact special educational needs (SEN) transport.

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