These terms of reference apply to all special educational needs (SEN) applications for statutory aged and non statutory school aged children and young people.
Local authorities need to be satisfied that they have made transport arrangements or arrangements for financial assistance necessary to facilitate young people’s participation in education or training. The needs of young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities should be specifically considered. Warrington Council will consider each application on its own merits.
There is a general expectation that students will attend the nearest college/education establishment to home which offers the chosen course. However, we will support learners’ choice of education establishment and attendance at a college which is not the closest to home when it makes sense to do so, for example; is the preferred course/subject (or similar) offered at a college or educational establishment closer to home than the one chosen by the applicant? If no, then do the panel agree to provide assistance to the preferred college/ educational establishment chosen by the applicant?
It is worth noting that if transport assistance is agreed, the type of assistance agreed may be one of the following:
- Mileage allowance or bus pass
- Contribution to support access to a preferred course
• Parents/carers of children with SEN are invited to complete an application for Travel Assistance for Pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN).
• The application consists of a series of questions relating to the family circumstances and the child’s needs. The questions have been designed to encourage the parent/carer to share information which should enable the panel to make an informed decision. The Council is not suggesting that these are the only circumstances which will be taken into account but are examples of what the Council may consider amount to exceptional circumstances.
• Applicants are asked to complete all questions on the form on a voluntary basis
• The panel will then consider all information presented to them on the application plus any supplementary information which may have been included by the parent and/or other professionals.
The panel must consist of 5 people representing the following service areas:
• Passenger Transport
• Service Manager from Universal services
• 11 -19 Learning and Achievement Division.
• Lay person (randomly selected)
It is not usually necessary to change the people on the panel from one hearing to the next. It is acceptable to have the same 5 people; different 5 people or a combination of these.
A Clerk must be present and provide an independent and impartial role. The clerk will make the necessary administrative arrangements and keep an accurate record of proceedings.
The purpose of the panel is to make a decision stating whether or not discretionary travel assistance should be awarded to the applicant(s) in question, based on all the information provided on the application form.
The panel will be provided with some examples which could be considered as exceptional circumstances which include the following:
1. the child or young persons needs and the impact of their needs on the ability of them getting to school/college safely
2. the family does not have access to a vehicle;
3. the family have other primary aged children to take to school;
4. parent/carer has a disability/medical condition which would prevent them from taking the child to school safely
This is by no means an exhaustive list and the panel must consider each application on its own merits. Therefore, the panel must exercise its discretionary powers to decide whether, on balance, the exceptional circumstances outlined by the applicant provide sufficient justification for transport assistance to be agreed.