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Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) school transport

Your child may be able to get free transport to school if they are aged 5 to 16 and have special educational needs or a disability (known as SEND). You may need to pay for transport if your child is under 5 years old and going to nursery or 16 to 25 years old and going to school or college.

Nursery and post 16

Transport for pupils aged under 5 or over 16 on the 1 September 2018.

Changes to school transport rules

The following changes to school transport rules may affect any pupil using transport from September 2018 who will still require transport in September 2019 onwards.

The council’s cabinet agreed on 9 March 2018 to change the school transport policy for pupils as listed below.

This will take effect from September 2019, irrespective of the transport and/or charges that may have applied to them up to that point, i.e. there will be no transitional arrangements. This means, for example, that you may have to pay charges from September 2019 where you currently receive free transport and/or your child will no longer receive taxi or council minibus transport. The changes are:

  • For all eligible SEN children aged between 16 and 18: stopping traditional transport methods (taxis or council fleet minibuses) and replacing them with a personal transport budget (PTB) direct payment (although there may be some exceptions to this that would be considered on a case by case basis). The rules for students aged 19-25 are different so transport has to be free of charge when deemed necessary by the Council, but a PTB will still remain the standard offer for those students.
  • For low income families using SEN transport aged between 16 and 18: families will need to make an annual contribution of £330 (currently free). This is 50% of the full charge for non-low income families and may change based on budget updates in future. As above there is no charge for eligible students aged 19-25.
  • For low income families using SEN nursery transport: families will need to make an annual contribution of £330 (currently free).  This is 50% of the full charge for non-low income families and may change based on budget updates in the future.
  • For eligible mainstream post 16 students: stopping traditional transport (mainly taxis and commercial bus passes) and instead providing an annual travel grant of £150 to assist with transport costs for those in isolated rural areas and/or from a low income background.

Frequently asked questions on SEN Transport policy from September 2019   Opens new window

Eligibility for nursery children

You’ll need to apply for transport if your child is:

  • aged 2, 3 or 4
  • going to a specialist nursery that is more than 2 miles from where they live
  • going to either Sketchley Menphys Nursery School if they live to the west of the M1 motorway or Wigston Menphys Nursery School if they live to the east of the M1 motorway

Exception

We will still consider your child for transport if you live less than 2 miles from the nursery and their sensory, physical, medical or behavioural difficulties stop them from getting to school even with help from a parent or carer

Eligibility for 16 to 25 year olds going to a school

Your child will qualify for transport if they:

  • have a SEN statement or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and are attending the school allocated by the Local Authority, that meets their needs or a nearer qualifying school
  • live more than 3 miles from their allocated  school
     

Eligibility for 16 to 25 year olds going to a further education college / free-standing sixth form college

Your child will qualify for transport if:

  • they are going to a full time college course (540 hours in an academic year)
  • they live more than 3 miles from the college
  • the college they are going to is the nearest college to offer the course

Or if they:

  • have a SEN statement or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and are attending the school allocated by the Local Authority, that meets their needs or a nearer qualifying college
  • they live more than 3 miles from the college

Cost

The transport charge from 19 November is £462 for the remainder of the academic year. You can pay by debit or credit card in one lump sum or in up to 5 monthly instalments.

19+

For students over the age of 19, no charge will be made if the council deems transport to be necessary to facilitate attendance at a further education/free-standing sixth form college to meet the specific educational outcome.

How to apply

You have to apply each academic year for transport to school, college or nursery - The 2018/2019 application form is now available below and normally takes around 20 minutes to complete.

You will need your payment card details or exemption documentation to complete your application.

Apply online

On a low income

You don’t have to pay for your child’s transport to nursery, sixth form or college if you get:

  • free school meals
  • universal credit
  • maximum level of Working Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • asylum support
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit – if you’re not getting Working Tax Credit and earn less than £16,190 a year before tax

How to apply if you’re on a low income

Apply online using the link above, on the payment exemptions page, choose ‘yes’ for the question ‘Are you claiming exemption from the charge’. Then choose 1 of: 

  • ‘Free school meals (or qualifying benefit)’ if you’re child gets free school meals or you’re on any of the qualifying benefits (listed above)
  • Maximum Working Tax Credit

You can upload proof of your benefits or Working Tax Credit on the form or you can post it. We won’t process your application until we receive proof of your benefits or Working Tax Credits. 

If you don’t have the proof, you can also choose ‘no’ for the question ‘Are you claiming exemption from the charge’. You’ll need to give us your debit or credit card details so we can process your application. You can then send us proof that you’re on a low income and we will cancel your payments and refund any money we have taken (if you are due money back). 

What you need as proof

Working Tax Credit

You’ll need to upload or send a copy of your Tax Credit Award Notice Form TC602(A). If you haven’t received your renewal notice, you should still apply and send the notice when you get it.  

Free school meals

Leicestershire schools and colleges

You don’t need to send proof of free school meals if your child goes to a Leicestershire school or college.

Other schools and colleges

You’ll need to upload or send proof that your child gets or qualifies for free school meals if your child goes to a:

  • Leicester City school
  • school outside Leicestershire
  • further education (FE) college or sixth form

Benefits

You should upload or send:

  • Income Support – letters or documents from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that show you’re getting Income Support
  • income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) – letters or documents from DWP
  • income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – letters or documents from DWP
  • asylum support –a letter from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) or an IS96
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit – letter or document from DWP
  • Child Tax Credit – your most recent Tax Credit Award Notice form TC602(A)

If you’re not eligible

If your child does not qualify for free school transport, you can:

  • ask us to check again if you think we’ve made a mistake
  • make an appeal

Moving home

You’ll need to apply again if you move home.

Further information

For further information, please see the SEND Home to School / College Transport Policy.

Are you a parent or carer of someone with special educational needs or a disability?

Get paid to take control of your child’s school transport. 

Find out about a Personal Transport Budget 

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