Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND): vacant seat scheme for children

1. Overview

What is the vacant seat scheme for SEND?

For some routes to special schools and colleges it is possible to apply to pay for an available seat on a vehicle. We can only give seats on our existing vehicles where there are spaces available. This means we are not able to offer a seat to everyone.

It may be necessary for the child or young adult to be taken to an existing stop.

Further information on the transport that we provide can be found for those with:

We also run a:

Who can apply and how much does it cost?

You can apply for a vacant seat if the child or young adult:

  • doesn’t receive free school transport. Find out if they may be eligible for:
           - free SEND transport
  • has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan

Prices (from September 2021):

  • Primary school
           - £78.50 per term (6 terms per year)
  • Secondary school and sixth form
           - £157 per term (6 terms per year)

These prices are regularly reviewed and may be increased at any time.

How does the vacant seat scheme for SEND work?

We will risk assess those on the vacant seat scheme for SEND using the same process as for all of the children and young adult that we transport. This will be undertaken before we are able to confirm that we can provide the vacant seat.

The timetabled stops on the vehicle will not be altered for a vacant seat collection. It may be necessary for the child or young adult to be taken to an existing stop.

Children and young adults who qualify for free transport have priority. We cannot guarantee there will always be vacant seats on our vehicles. Available seats can be reduced if they are needed; services can also be removed, or vehicle size reduced. If this happens, you must make alternative arrangements. The vacant seat can be removed at short notice and payment does not guarantee a place for any length of time.

You will need to re-apply for a vacant seat space each school year. For a new school year seats are usually allocated at the end of October. This is to ensure that everyone who gets free home to school transport have seats first. We suggest that you always plan alternative arrangements for the first half term of any school year.

Contact us

Please contact the Specialist Contract Team to find out more about the vacant seat scheme.

You can also use this form if you are already on the scheme and have a query.

We will usually reply within 10 working days.

If your request is for the new school year, we may take longer to reply because we allocate vacant seats for the new school year at the end of October.