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Post-16 Transport Policy Statement Academic Year 2020 - 2021

The home to school travel assistance policy statement explains what travel assistance is on offer to help get students aged 16+, who live in Islington to access appropriate education or training provision.

This policy is for people young people in Post 16 Education and Training. Please read all parts of the policy statement before applying.

Paper copies are available from the SEN Team on request by emailing SEN@islington.gov.uk or by phoning 020 7527 5518.

See the policy for people aged 5-16.

Part 1: The local authority’s duty to provide transport assistance

The support for young people aged 16- 25 is very different to that for 5-16 year olds. This is because the legal duty to provide transport assistance for these age groups is different.

All young people eligible for transport assistance that are carrying on their education post 16 must reapply for travel support.

Many young people aged 16 to 25 in education can access free or affordable transport through:

  • Concessionary tickets for young people 16 – 25 from Transport for London (TfL)
  • The 16-19 Bursary Fund
  • Young parents / Care to Learn

Islington Council expects that families will make use of these sources of support before approaching the local authority for support.

The local authority has no statutory duty to provide free travel assistance for post 16 to education. Any support offered by the Council is discretionary.

Local Authorities have a duty to:

  • prepare and publish an annual transport policy statement specifying the arrangements for the provision of transport or other support that the authority considers it necessary to make to facilitate the attendance of all persons of sixth form age receiving education or training.
  • facilitate access to full-time education for young people aged 16–19 and this may include assistance with travel in certain circumstances
  • encourage, enable and assist young people with learning difficulties / disabilities to participate in education and training.

The provision of assistance with travel by the council will be based on individual needs and circumstances and with due regard to the efficient use of resources.

Young people may be eligible for assistance from the Council if they satisfy the eligibility criteria.

*Education or training refers to learning or training at a school, further education institution, a council maintained or assisted institution providing higher or further education, an establishment funded directly by the Education Skills Funding Agency, learning providers delivering accredited programmes of learning which lead to positive outcomes and are funded by the council, for example, colleges, charities and private learning providers.

The local authority’s expectations of families

Islington local authority together with local families, schools and their partners have agreed what families should be reasonable expected to do regarding home school and college travel.

  • Students will attend their nearest suitable local school or college.
  •  If a student cannot travel to school or college on their own the parent or carer will accompany them where it is reasonable to expect them to do so.
  • If a parent or carer cannot accompany their children to school or college themselves, they should make other arrangements such as:
    • getting other family members or friends to help
    • making arrangements with other parents at the school
    • arranging formal childcare via a childminder, breakfast club or play centre
    • asking an employer for flexible working arrangements
    • moving a child to the nearest suitable local school
  • Families will make use of any suitable home to school travel is provided by someone else. E.g. travel provision made available to young people by Transport for London.
  • Parents or carers will make sure students of compulsory school age receive a full time education and, if they are registered at a school or college, that they attend regularly, arrive on time and are ready to learn
  • Pupils and their families should consider the environmental and social impact of home school journeys. E.g. walk, cycle or make use of public transport where it is appropriate.
  • Families should support their children to learn and practice the skills they need to become independent travelers. This includes:
    • how to be safe when walking in public
    • how to behave
    • how to use public transport
    • co-operating with schools and others that offer travel training
  • When transport assistance is agreed by the local authority, families and children will follow the rules set out in the relevant agreement form provided by the local authority. E.g. the code of conduct and personal travel budget agreement.

Part 2: Assistance offered by external organisations

Most young people aged 16-18 in Islington should be able to travel to their education or training on foot or by public transport.

For the vast majority of Post 16 students, travel needs will be met by the free and discounted options provided by Transport for London (TfL). Young people should obtain the appropriate Oyster card before starting their programme of study. It is the young person’s responsibility to ensure they meet the requirements set by TfL for retaining an Oyster card.

Home to school transport assistance is not generally available from any schools or colleges in the local area. Some courses, such as those for students with a special educational need or disability, may include developing independent travel skills. Enquiries about what they can offer should be made directly to the education setting

Many young people aged 16 to 25 in education can access free or affordable transport through:

  • The 16-19 Bursary Fund
  • Young parents / Care to Learn

 The local authority expects that families will make use of these sources of support before approaching the local authority for support.

Find further information about money to help full time students.

Concessionary tickets for young people 16+

Most young people aged 16-25 in Islington should be able to travel to their education or training on foot or by public transport.

For the vast majority of Post 16 students, travel needs will be met by the free and discounted options provided by Transport for London (TfL). Young people should obtain the appropriate Oyster card before starting their programme of study. It is the young person’s responsibility to ensure they meet the requirements set by TfL for retaining an Oyster card.

16+ Oyster photo card

Young people aged 16 or 17 can travel for free on buses and trams (if resident in a London borough), and at half adult rate on Tube, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London, provided they have a 16+ Oyster photo card.

Young people aged over 18 in full time education are eligible for free bus and tram travel, provided they have a 16+ Zip Oyster photo card.

Find further information from TfL

18+ Student Oyster photo card

18+ Student Oyster photo cards are available to students who are aged 18 and over, and who are attending a full-time course (and in certain circumstances a part-time course) at colleges, schools and universities registered on the TfL 18+ Student Oyster photo card scheme.

The 18+ student card gives a 30% discount on bus, tram, tube, DLR,

London Overground and national rail travel card season tickets.

Find further information from TfL

Apprentice Oyster card

Young people aged over 18 years, who live in a London borough and are on the first year of an apprenticeship that will last for more than 12 months are eligible to apply for an Apprentice Oyster card.

The Apprentice Oyster card gives a 30% discount on bus, tram, tube,

DLR, London Overground and national rail travel card season tickets.

Find further information from TfL

The 16-19 Bursary Fund

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund provides financial support to help young people overcome specific barriers to participation so they can remain in education.

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursaries:

  1. A vulnerable bursary of up to £1,200 a year for young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups below:
    1. in care
    2. care leavers
    3. in receipt of Income Support, or Universal Credit in place of Income Support, in their own right
    4. in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit and Disability Living or Personal Independence Payments in their own right
  2. Discretionary bursaries which institutions award to meet individual needs, for example, help with the cost of transport, meals, books and equipment. To be eligible for the discretionary bursary young people must:
    1. be aged 16 or over but under 19 at 31 August 2020 or
    2. be aged 19 or over at 31 August 2020 and have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
    3. be aged 19 or over at 31 August 2020 and continuing on a study programme they began aged 16 to 18 (‘19+ continuers’)
    4. be studying a programme that is subject to inspection by a public body which assures quality (such as Ofsted), the provision must also be funded by either a Government funding agency or the local authority

Schools and colleges are responsible for managing both types of bursary. Young people who want to apply for support from the bursary fund should contact their chosen school or college to make an application.

Find further information from www.gov.uk, search for post 16 bursaries or see Money to help full-time students.

Care to Learn for young parents

If you are a young parent under 20, Care to Learn can help pay for your childcare and related

travel costs, up to £160 per child per week, while you learn. Care to Learn can help with the cost of:

  • childcare, including deposit and registration fees
  • a childcare ‘taster’ session (up to 5 days)
  • keeping your childcare place over the summer holidays
  • taking your child to the childcare provider


Types of child care

The childcare provider must be Ofsted registered and can be a:

  • childminder
  • pre-school playgroup
  • day nursery
  • out of school club

If your child needs specialist childcare, the provider must also be on the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) register for specialist provision. If you want a relative to get Care to Learn for looking after your child, they need to be both:

  • providing registered childcare for children they’re not related to
  • living apart from you and your child

Payments

Childcare payments go directly to your childcare provider. Before your childcare provider can be paid:

  • your childcare provider needs to confirm your child’s attendance
  • your school or college needs to confirm that you’re attending your course

Payments for travel costs go to your school or college - they’ll either pay you or arrange travel for you.

Attendance

Payments will stop if:

  • you stop attending your course
  • you finish your course
  • your child stops attending childcare

Eligibility

You can get Care to Learn if:

  • you’re a parent under 20 at the start of your course
  • you’re the main carer for your child
  • you live in England
  • you’re either a British citizen or a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) country
  • your course is publicly funded (check with your school or college)
  • your childcare provider is registered with Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission

Type of course

Care to Learn is only available for courses in England that have some public funding.

This includes courses that take place in:

  • schools
  • school sixth forms
  • sixth form colleges
  • other colleges and learning providers, including Foundation Learning
  • your community at Children’s Centres

Young parents are also entitled to apply for an Under 19 Bus Only Ticket or for those aged 19 and over can apply for the 19 – 25 card.

For more information on how to claim or see Money to help full-time students.

Part 3: Local Authority Support

Discretionary power to provide travel assistance due to exceptional circumstances

The local authority has discretionary power to provide travel assistance due to exceptional circumstances. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and will always require supporting evidence. Examples of exceptional circumstances may include where:

  • a young person has been forced to move into temporary accommodation or a refuge and the local authority wants to provide them with continuity by enabling them to continue attending their current school or college
  • the very high cost of transport prevents the young person attending a place in their nearest school or college

Families can apply for travel assistance due to exceptional circumstances using the application form in the usual way. We recommend that prior to completing an application, the family contacts the local authority to discuss the supporting evidence they can provide as part of the application and if any further supporting evidence may need to be sought. This could include giving consent to the local authority to contact a housing provider, a health professional or a social worker for supporting information.

Here are two examples to help explain exceptional circumstances.

  • H is 18 years old and is a care leaver. His college does not offer a bursary for vulnerable groups. He is a member of the Church of England and because of this, he attends a Church of England Sixth Form school that is 8 miles from home. There are other schools which are nearer to home, but none of these is a Church of England 6th Form school.  The local authority pays a £5.00 contribution towards his £10.10 daily fare for the Zone 1 to 4 travel card (with a discount due to his 18+ Student Oyster card).
  • Young person K. The local authority has received an application from a lone parent on low income who has 3 children. The 17-year-old young person applied to his college for a discretionary bursary and was awarded £400 towards the cost of transport, meals, books and equipment. The annual cost of transport by train to his nearest suitable course at half adult rate on Tube and London Overground with a 16+ Oyster photo card is £663.

The young person has been identified by local authority staff as being at risk of becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET). The family provide evidence of financial hardship. The local authority decides to use its discretionary power to make a £200 financial contribution towards his travel costs to facilitate his attendance at college.

Discretionary travel for disabled people

The local authority may agree to provide transport assistance if:

  • The learner is an Islington resident
  •  All available sources of support in Part 2 of this document have been explored.

You can apply for Council assistance with travel in addition to the options provided by other organisations, but any assistance received will be taken into account when assessing what form of assistance with travel is most appropriate.

  • The learner cannot reasonably be expected to walk or use public transport because of their special educational needs, disability or mobility problems. 
  • The education setting/ training provider is the nearest that can meet the majority of the learners needs (Travel assistance will not be provided on the basis of one subject being unavailable at your nearest learning provider.)
  • If the learner has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) issued by Islington Council, it names the education provider in section I.
  • The study programme is full-time – equivalent to a minimum of 18 hours per week.
  • If aged 19 or over, the learner has been in continuous education or training since before their 19th birthday
  • The Local Authority agrees that the study programme attended provides a clear educational or training benefit, suited to their needs.
  • The learner lives more than 3 miles away from the learning provider (by the shortest safe walking route), or lives less than 3 miles away and the Local Authority identifies the need for specific travel assistance.
  • The learner cannot reasonably be expected to walk or use public transport because the nature of the route means it would be unsafe for them to do so; and there is no reasonable alternative route that would be safe for them
  • An application for transport assistance has been completed in full

Each application will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants will not be considered eligible for travel assistance if any of the following applies:

  • Suitable travel is provided by someone else e.g. travel provision by TfL.
  • A learner has been assessed as eligible but nevertheless chooses to make their own arrangements. (The young person’s mental capacity will be considered)
  • The young person is employed and starting or continuing an apprenticeship
  • The study programme is at Level 4 or higher, including a foundation degree.
  • The learner is over 19 years of age and does not have a current Education Health and Care Plan.
  • The chosen study programme does not take place at a publicly funded provider.

Types of travel assistance provided

It is up to local authorities to decide how to provide travel assistance.

Examples include:

  • A Personal Travel Budget (PTB) - A sum of money provided to organise a young person’s travel arrangements in a way which best meets their circumstances. A personal transport budget could be used in many different ways. For example
  • To pay towards the costs of employing someone to accompany the learner to the education setting
  • Funding towards a fares on public transport.
  • Funding towards the parent use of a car club electric vehicle

In exceptional cases the following travel assistance may be agreed for learners aged 16+

  • Walking Bus - a small group of learners walking together with adult support
  • A Travel Assistant - An experienced and trained adult to support the learner walk and /or travel by public transport.
  • A seat on a school bus - Buses usually pick up 8- 12 learners from different locations who attend a particular education setting. The young person will spend considerable time on the bus. All buses, drivers and escorts will be sourced by a qualified, registered provider, working to contractual standards set by the Council.
  • A seat in a taxi - Taxi’s usually pick up 2-5 learners from different locations who attend a particular education setting. All taxis, drivers and escorts will be sourced by a qualified, registered provider, working to contractual standards set by the Council.

 The local authority’s decision about the type of travel assistance offered will consider:

  • the reasons why travel assistance has been agreed
  • the distance and time taken to travel using different modes of transport
  • the travel assistance arrangements already in place for other learners
  • the start and end times of schools, colleges or training courses
  • the preferences of the young person and their family
  • the resources and funding available to the Council

The type of transport assistance offered will be regularly reviewed and may change over time.

Here is one example to help explain which type of transport assistance may be provided:

The local authority has received an application for transport assistance for a learner with complex physical disability and special educational needs. The learner has previously been eligible for transport assistance to attend a special school.

They are continuing their education at the same school for Sixth Form education. The family have asked if the learner can continue to have a place on the school bus.

The local authority agrees that the learner is in need of travel assistance because of their SEND and also financial hardship. There are no spare places on the school bus and this would mean that a child eligible for travel assistance would need to travel by taxi at a significantly higher costs.

The local authority agrees to make a financial contribution to an offer of transport assistance in the form of a Personal Transport Budget (PTB) so that the family can make their own arrangements.

Part 4: How to apply for travel assistance and appeal decisions

Eligibility for and provision of travel assistance is not automatic and will only be considered on receipt of an Travel Assistance Application Form.

It is important to provide all the information requested to enable a decision to be made and avoid unnecessary delays in reviewing your application.

Information about how to submit the application can be found on the Travel Assistance Application Form.

If you need help and support regarding completing an application you can contact the Islington SEND Community Support Service.

The local authority will consider all applications and may request additional information if necessary. You will be informed of the decision within 20 working days of the application and any additional information being received.

If travel assistance is not agreed, we will tell you why you were not successful. We will also explain the appeal process.

If travel assistance is agreed, someone will contact you to discuss what type of assistance could be provided.

If travel assistance has been provided and you are not happy with the type of assistance agreed, you should contact the SEN Team to discuss your concerns.

Any travel assistance provided will only apply for a set period, usually the current academic year, and must be renewed regularly.

Appeals

Islington local authority has a two stage process to enable parents to appeal against the decision about the eligibility for home to school travel.

Parents wishing to complain about the service provided by the local authority should use the complaints procedure.

Stage one: review by a senior officer

Appeals can be in submitted up to 20 working days from the day the family received the local authority’s home to school travel decision.

The request should:

  • be made in writing
  • clearly ask for a review of the decision
  • explain why they believe the local authority should review its decision#
  • include any information they would like to be considered as part of the review.

Senior officer(s) within the local authority will review the decision in light of the information provided.

Within 20 working days of receiving a request for a review, the senior officer(s) will notify the parent in writing of the outcome of the review. The written decision will clearly explain:

  • whether they have upheld the local authority’s original home to school travel decision; and
  • why they reached that decision; and
  • the factors they took into account in reaching that decision.

Where the original decision has been upheld, they should also explain how the parent may escalate their appeal to stage two of the appeal process.

Stage two: review by an independent appeal panel

Parents have 20 working days from the day they received the outcome of stage one to notify the local authority in writing that they wish to escalate the matter to stage two, and to provide any additional information that they wish to be considered in light of the stage one decision.

The local authority will make arrangements for an independent panel to review the case. The panel members will be independent of the original decision making process. They will have the knowledge, skills and experience to ensure that the local authority complies with its statutory duties, that a balance is achieved between meeting the needs of parents and of the local authority, and that no child is placed at unnecessary risk.

This review will take place within 40 working days of the local authority’s receipt of a parent’s request. It may include consideration of oral, as well as written, representations from the parent. It may also include written and oral representations from the officer who made the local authority’s original decision and those who conducted the stage one review.

The appeal panel should notify the parent in writing of the outcome of their review within 5 working days of completing its considerations. They should clearly explain:

  • whether or not they have upheld the local authority’s original decision; and
  • why they reached that decision; and
  • the factors they took into account in reaching that decision.

Where the panel have upheld the home to school travel decision, the parent may complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman if they believe the local authority has refused help unfairly, made a mistake or not handled their application or appeal for home to school transport correctly.

If an appellant considers the decision of the independent appeals panel to be flawed on public law grounds, they may apply for a judicial review.

Reviewing this policy statement

This policy will be kept under review and will be updated when necessary. Proposed changes to this policy will include consulting for at least 28 working days during term time:

  • schools or colleges whose pupils will be affected by the proposed changes, including those located in other local authority areas; and
  • the local SEND Parent Carer Forum
  • learners that will (or may) be affected by the proposed changes, including those who attend school in a neighbouring authority, and those who may be affected in the future; for example, because they live in the catchment area of, or attend the feeder school of, a school affected by the proposed changes.

The local authority will give careful consideration to the impact proposed changes to the policy will have on a learner’s school/ college choices, and on the financial impact they will have on affected families.

Wherever possible, any changes to the policy will be phased in so that children who begin attending an education setting under one set of travel arrangements continue to benefit from those arrangements until they leave that school.