localoffer@bexley.gov.uk

020 3045 5677

Bexley Local Offer

Parents and carers are responsible for ensuring their child attends school. This may include making or assisting with travel arrangements to and from school and/or accompanying their child.

Not all children and young people with an EHC Plan will need or receive travel assistance from the Council, and the completion of an EHC Plan does not confer an automatic entitlement to the provision of travel assistance by the Council.

On this page parents and carers can find out whether their child is eligible for travel assistance and how to apply, as well as general information about the Council’s travel assistant offer.

To be eligible, a child or young person must:

  • be aged 5–16 (compulsory school age)
  • go to their nearest qualifying school (a school with places available that provides education appropriate to the age, ability and aptitude of the child, and any special educational needs that the child may have)
  • live further than the statutory walking distance from their school.
The statutory walking distance is:
  • up to two miles for a child aged 7 or under
  • up to three miles for a child aged 8–16.
Factors taken into consideration when assessing for eligibility of travel assistance are whether:
  • a child or young person can walk safely to school if they are accompanied
  • parents/carers disability /needs which prohibits them from accompany their child to school
If parents/carers believe their child meets the eligibility criteria, they can apply for travel assistance by completing the online application form on the council’s website

If travel assistance is agreed, the Council will decide what assistance will be provided. This decision will be based on the identified needs of the individual child/young person and will take account of the Council’s duties to make the best use of its resources.

Wherever possible, in the provision of travel assistance, the Council will consider travel options that lead to independence and life skills.

For further details and criteria regarding travel assistance care available on the Bexley’s Travel Assistance Policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Simply click on the questions below to see the answers:

  •  
    Travel Assistance 2019/20 (T-TP-0219-A001)

    The London Borough of Bexley is committed to ensuring that every child, young person and their family in Bexley lead as independent and healthy a life as possible, feeling confident, safe and secure and achieving their potential.  

     

    We want to support all children and young people to be as ambitious as possible throughout their lives including those with the most complex needs. As they grow, develop and prepare into adulthood, this could include;  

     

    • travelling as independently as possible - being able to go safely where they want when they want
    • accessing Further (higher) Education (beyond age 16) and/or employment – this includes exploring different employment options, such as support for becoming self-employed and help from supported employment agencies  
    • independent living – young people having choice, control and freedom over their lives and the support they need, their accommodation and living arrangements, including supported living
    • participating in society, including having friends and supportive relationships, and participating in, and contributing to, the local community leading to sustainable lifestyles 
    • staying as healthy as possible in adult life 

     

    The Council’s Travel Assistance Offer is detailed within two Council policies, each policy caters for different age ranges: 

     

     

    Included in the policy is the eligibility criteria (see Travel Assistance FAQS) that each application will be assessed against and the forms of assistance that may be offered if identified as entitled to support. Please note that each application is assessed based on the individual needs and circumstances of the child/young person based on the evidence provided in their application. 

     

    If the council decides that some assistance is justified, it will not always be in the form of a place on a taxi/minibus – the proportion of children and young people taking up other forms of assistance that better suit their needs is rising both in Bexley and nationally. Any offer will reflect the travel needs of the child/young person, aiming to all them to travel as independently as possible. 

     

    For example, the Council has successfully supported children and young people learn to travel independently to School/College through their Independent Travel Training Programme, supporting more than 183 young people to successfully travel independently on public transport to their place of learning. 

     

    Whilst approximately 93 families/young people have benefited from the Council providing a Personal Travel Assistance Budget (PTAB), the family use this funding to make the necessary arrangements to enable the family/young person to make their own travel arrangements which provide greater flexibility and options compared to other travel assistance options. 

     

    If the Council agrees to provide travel assistance it will look to support with an appropriate offer based on the needs of the child/young person travel, aiming to allow them to travel as independently as possible, based on their identified travel needs. 

  •  
    What is Travel Assistance and how does that differ from Transport? (T-TP-0219-A003)

    The term Travel Assistance is used as the Council provides a range of assistance to support eligible children and young people travel to their School/College and does not automatically offer arranged transport.

     

    If an offer of support is made by the Council it will reflect the specific/circumstances of each child/young person detailed in their application form and supporting information. Where appropriate the Council will provide assistance that uses services (e.g. Bus or Train) or provide bespoke training and support to enable the child/young person to develop the appropriate skills to travel on public transport. The Council has trained over 183 young people to be able to travel independently to their place of learning.

     

    Families/young person will also be able to accept a Personal Travel Assistance Budget (PTAB) to make their own travel arrangements to suit their specific circumstances and needs which traditional travel assistance support is unable to accommodate, such as attendance at after-school clubs, travel to/from childminders/alternative addresses etc… Currently, 16% of those in receipt of travel assistance use PTAB’s to make their own travel arrangements.

     

    An example of the types of assistance that may be offered by the Council is as follows:

     

    • Travel Pass for the child/young person and or parent/carer
    • Independent Travel Training (ITT)
    • Personal Travel Assistance Budget (PTAB)
    • Bespoke support/accompaniment during travel e.g. walking bus, travel buddy etc…
    • Arranged Transport using existing routes/resources, including access via collection points
    • Other bespoke travel arrangements
    • Arranged Transport in the form of taxi/minibus (once all other options have been explored and exhausted)

     

    PLEASE NOTE – This list is not exhaustive

  •  
    My Child receives Travel Assistance from the Council, do I need to reapply for the 2019/20 academic year? (T-TP-0219-A004)

    In previous years all children were required to re-apply for travel assistance annually. For the 2019/20 academic year only cases at or approaching key changes in (example transfers) their education will need to re-apply for travel assistance. Children needing to re-apply are:

     

    • requesting travel assistance who are not currently in receipt of travel assistance (inc. first time applications)
    • moving from year 6 into year 7 (transferring from Primary age to Secondary age)
    • moving from year 11 into year 12 (transferring from Secondary education to Post 16 education)
    • moving from year 9 into year 10 (transferring from Key Stage 3 into Key Stage 4)
    • who were originally awarded travel assistance on the basis of a discretionary award (time limited)

     

    Others will not have to re-apply. All children currently receiving travel assistance during the 2018/19 academic year will be sent a letter before the application process opens on the 15th of February 2019, confirming whether or not they need to re-apply.

  •  
    How do I apply for Travel Assistance? (T-TP-0219-A005)

    Everyone must complete a Travel Assistance Application form, this can be completed and submitted on-line. From receipt of an application form takes up to 10 working days to confirm the outcome of the initial assessment.

     

    As part of the application process we require applicants to agree to a simple ‘Code of Conduct’ which explains what you, the council, and its travel assistance providers can reasonably expect in terms of roles and responsibilities and service & behaviour standards..Where an application is approved and it is decided that assistance will be provided takes up to a further 10 working days before the agreed assistance is put in place.

     

    Wherever possible we aim to complete the assessment and finalise travel arrangements within these timeframes. Note that it remains the family’s responsibility to make travel arrangements for the child/young person to attend their School/College until the application process is completed and travel arrangements are finalised.

     

    PLEASE NOTE – There is a deadline of 31 May for ensuring travel arrangements are in place for the 19/20 academic year, all applications received after this deadline and subsequently approved are not guaranteed to have travel arrangements in place for the start of term, in this instance families will be required to make the necessary travel arrangements for their child until the Council has finalised arrangements.

     

    Applications for Travel Assistance for the 19/20 academic year are available for submission from the 15th February 2019. To apply, you must complete the travel assistance application form, CLICK HERE

     

    Before applying you are encouraged to read the Council’s PRE 16 & POST 16 Travel Assistance Policy to understand the eligibility criteria that will be applied and if approved what different forms of travel may be offered.

  •  
    What are the deadlines for submitting applications for the 2019/20 Academic Year? (T-TP-0219-A006)

    You are able to apply from 15th of February 2019 leading up to the start and throughout the 2019/20 academic year. However, if you want to ensure travel arrangements are in place for the start of the 2019/20 academic year then you need to apply before the 31st May 2019. Applications received after this date will not be guaranteed to have travel arrangements in place for the start of term (if assessed as eligible for travel support) and families would need to make interim arrangements until arrangements are finalised.

     

    During the academic year the Council aims to assess applications and inform applicants within 10 working days, whether travel assistance will be offered. Where the Council offers to provide travel assistance it aims to make the necessary travel arrangements based on individual needs/circumstances within another 10 working days.

     

    PLEASE NOTE – Between February and into the start of term these timescales may be exceeded due to the high volume of applications and demand during this period.

  •  
    Is my child (aged 5-16) eligible for assistance with travel to and from School? (T-TP-0219-A007)

    There is no guarantee that a child with special educational needs, an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP), who has a disability or who has mobility problems will receive support with travel to School/College from Bexley Council. All children will be assessed in accordance with the Council’s Travel Assistance Policies on a case by case basis, based on their individual needs and circumstances.

     

    Bexley Council presently provides travel assistance to 35% of children living in Bexley who have a finalised Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and who attend the nearest suitable school to their home address that meets their educational needs.

     

    To determine whether a child/young person is eligible for support from the Council with their travel to and from School (Compulsory School Age, 5 to 16 years) then the Council will use the following criteria:

     

    Children without SEN and/or mobility difficulties:

     

    • If the child lives more than two miles from their school if the child is under the age of 8, free travel on public transport is unavailable, and they attend their nearest available School
    • If the child lives more than three miles from their school if they are aged of 8 (Year 4 onwards), free travel on public transport is unavailable, and they attend their nearest available School

     

    Children with SEN and/or mobility difficulties:

     

    • If a child’s SEN or mobility needs mean it is unreasonable to expect them to walk to School (nearest appropriate identified by the local authority and named in EHCP).

     

    PLEASE NOTE – Where parents/carers have chosen a School that is different from the School identified by the Council as the nearest School that can meet the child’s educational needs then parents will be responsible for making travel arrangements without support from the Council

  •  
    Is my over-16 child eligible for assistance with travel to and from School/college? (T-TP-0219-A008)

    Once over age 16, the council is no longer obliged by law to provide travel assistance free of charge to eligible cases.

     

    There is no guarantee that a child with special educational needs, an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP), who has a disability or who has mobility problems will receive support with travel to School/College from Bexley Council. All children will be assessed in accordance with the Council’s Travel Assistance Policies on a case by case basis, based on their individual needs and circumstances to establish if support is required to enable access to education, or if existing support/networks exist with reasonable travel options available. Where reasonable travel options/support are in existence then the Council will not provide additional support with travel arrangements.

     

    PLEASE NOTE - Young people who will be over the age of 16 at 1 September 2019 and who are awarded travel assistance to join courses beginning from 1 September 2019 may incur a charge of £400 per school year as a contribution towards the council’s costs. 

  •  
    In addition to our childs SEN and/or mobility needs I have a medical condition that prevents me walking with my child to School, is there any support available? (T-TP-0219-A009)

    If a child’s parent/carer has been diagnosed with a medical condition that makes walking with their child to and from School difficult then the Council may consider providing travel assistance. We will need to examine your medical evidence that confirms the specific condition and details how it prevents you from walking that distance.

     

    PLEASE NOTE – Evidence from healthcare professionals (such as a hospital consultant) should specifically reference the distance from Home to School and confirm how far the parent carer can walk, and should include details about the impact walking would have on the parent/carer and whether there is any likelihood the identified condition is likely to get any better over time, and whether improvements in your mobility might allow you to walk shorter distances.

  •  
    We have been informed our child is not eligible for Travel Assistance but we are unable to make our own arrangements, does the council consider specific family circumstances? (T-TP-0219-A010)

    The Council will consider family circumstances that prevent parent/carers walking with their child to and from School on a case by case basis. In most cases these example circumstances would not warrant the Council providing travel assistance:

     

    • To enable parent/carer to attend work
    • The need to support another child with their journey to another School
    • Travel support to facilitate attendance at after school clubs/activities

     

    PLEASE NOTE – This list is not exhaustive: if applicants want specific family circumstances to be taken into account in the application process then you should provide robust information and evidence with the application form that clear evidence of what alternative options have been explored by the family and why they are not available/appropriate.

  •  
    How are applications assessed? (T-TP-0219-A012)

    Every application for travel assistance will be considered on its individual merits. The assessment process will consider the evidence and information that the family/carer provides, and depending on its complicatedness may involve several departments and health professionals. Where medical conditions have been diagnosed that limit/impact the child/young person or parent/carer’s mobility and ability to walk from their home to School then it is expected any evidence provided to support this includes professional/consultant feedback confirming what distance can be walked and how it impacts access to other services/activities in the community, as well as in an educational situation.

     

    We date-mark each application we receive and start a timer to track its progress. In some complicated cases, we need to request further information/evidence to ensure fair and consistent consideration has been applied. Since doing this can extend the process we will advise you of the delay, and you will remain responsible for making your own travel arrangements until a decision is made, and agreed travel arrangements have been made.

     

    Based on the information provided in the application and supplementary information available, the Council will decide based on identified needs, whether assistance should be provided, and agree on the type of assistance to be offered. This may include: Independent Travel Training (ITT), Personal Travel Assistance Budget (PTAB), Shared Transport, Pick up Point, Walking Buddy, Public Transport Ticket/Pass etc

     

    As each application is approved Bexley Integrated Transport Unit (BITU) will begin to make the necessary arrangements reflecting the type/form of assistance that has been agreed.

  •  
    My application has been refused, what are my options? (T-TP-0219-A013)

    If an application has been refused you have the right of appeal. The Council operates a two-stage appeal process:

     

    Stage one:

     

    The applicant has 20 working days from receipt of the council’s home to school travel assistance decision to make a written request for a review of that decision. The appeal will be considered by a senior officer of Children’s Services. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal stage one the decision can be appealed and reviewed at stage two.

     

    Stage two:

     

    The parent/carer has 20 working days from receipt of the council’s stage one written decision notification to make a written request to escalate the matter to stage two. Within 40 working days of receipt of the applicant’s request an independent appeal panel (this panel will not include the officer/s who made the original decision) will consider written and verbal representations from both the parent and officers involved in the case and will within another 5 working days give a detailed written decision.

     

    To begin the appeal process, please click here.

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