Eligibility for transport assistance to a SEN school or placement

SEN school or placement eligibility criteria

When offering a school place, the Children’s Services SEN Team will also confirm a child’s eligibility for transport assistance. They assess eligibility for children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) based on the following criteria:

1. Attending the agreed school

Your child must be attending the school nearest to your home which is able to meet their special educational needs as agreed by the Children’s Services SEN Team.

2. Live an appropriate distance from the school

The distance between your home and the school must be:

  • from the term following the child’s fifth birthday to the day before the child’s eighth birthday: more than two miles
  • from the child’s eighth birthday until they turn 16 years of age: more than three miles

The walking distance is measured by the nearest available walking route from where the property meets the adopted road, public footpaths, bridleways, and other pathways to the nearest available entrance to the school grounds. Where all the routes to the schools in question are beyond the statutory walking distances, the route to the schools will be measured by the nearest available road route, passable for a suitable motorised vehicle, when determining whether a non-catchment school qualifies as a nearer school.

Assistance may be offered within these distance limits where a child’s needs make this essential.

Note: if you are a parent of an SEN student seeking transport for a respite placement, you must contact your Social Worker.

To discuss eligibility further, please contact the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Helpline on 01329 316165 or alternatively email the appropriate team for your area of Hampshire which can be found on the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Service webpage.

My child meets the eligibility criteria and I need help getting them to school, how do I apply for transport assistance?

If your child meets the eligibility criteria and you need help getting them to school, you can apply for transport assistance.

My transport application has been rejected, what can I do now?

You are able to appeal our eligibility decision or the suitability of transport arrangements we have put in place.

Stage 1 Appeal

This provides an opportunity to request a senior officer review of the original decision made regarding eligibility for transport or the suitability of transport arrangements we have put in place.

You are able to appeal by emailing [email protected] making the basis for the appeal clear and they will advise you of the next steps. This must be within 20 working days or receiving the eligibility decision outcome.

As part of the appeal process you will be required to provide further information to support why your eligibility decision or transport arrangements should be reviewed and any additional evidence that should be considered as part of the review.

Once we have received your appeal and any supporting evidence, we will notify you in writing of the appeal outcome within 20 working days. This will include an explanation of:

  • whether we have upheld the local authority’s original decision
  • why we have reached that decision;
  • how the review was conducted
  • the factors considered in reaching their decision
  • any other agencies or departments that were consulted as part of the review

Where we have upheld the original decision, you can choose to escalate your appeal to Stage 2 of the process.

Stage 2 Appeal

If you wish to escalate your appeal to Stage 2 then please email [email protected] to notify us. This information will also be outlined in your Stage 1 outcome letter.

You have 20 working days from receipt of the stage one written decision notification to make a written request, via email to escalate the matter to stage two.

Within 40 working days of receipt of the your request an independent appeal panel will consider written and verbal representations from both the parent and officers involved in the case and give a detailed written notification of the outcome (within 5 working days), setting out:

  1. the nature of the decision reached;
  2. how the review was conducted (including the standard followed e.g. Road Safety GB);
  3. information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted as part of the process;
  4. what factors were considered;
  5. the rationale for the decision reached; and
  6. information about the parent’s right to put the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman

The independent appeal panel members will be independent of the original decision-making process (but are not required to be independent of the local authority) and suitably experienced (at the discretion of the local authority), to ensure a balance is achieved between meeting the needs of the parents and the local authority, and that road safety requirements are complied with and no child is placed at unnecessary risk.

As part of this process, you are also able to make a complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman if you believe the local authority has made a mistake in the way it has handled your case. If you consider the decision of the independent appeals panel to be flawed on public law grounds, then you may apply for a judicial review.

My child is not eligible for transport, what can I do now?”

If your child does not meet the eligibility criteria, there are many travel solutions available to residents of Hampshire.

You may be able to buy a spare capacity seat on contracted Hampshire County Council routes. Please note that this service will incur a cost to the user.

Early years SEN provision eligibility criteria

There is no automatic eligibility for travel assistance for non-compulsory age children attending an Early Years setting. For pupils attending a Specialist Early Years Placement, any request for transport assistance will be considered on a case by case basis.

See the How to apply page to submit a Travel Request Form.