School transport

Special and additional needs transport

Process for assessing eligibility

In addition to our general home to school transport eligibility criteria it is acknowledged that some children and young people will require supported transport arrangements solely because of their additional support needs.

In determining individual transport needs, recommendations from school staff, psychological services, community and health professionals will be considered. Information from parents or carers is a crucial part of this process.

Where it has been identified that a child or young person may require transport the request will be made by the school or specialist provision with the parents. In every case, transport requests will be considered through an approval process by an appropriate Education Officer once all other avenues have been considered, such as mainstream transport.

Transport arrangements

Where a transport request is approved, travel by taxi, minibus or coach will be arranged and wheelchair user accessible vehicles if necessary.

Transport provision will be based upon shared transport with others where times and routes allow.

The provision of transport may change or cease as the pupil’s needs change or becomes more able to travel independently. Such decisions will be made with the team around the child or young person and will take full account of the pupil's needs.

In all cases, transport arrangements will be subject to a minimum annual review or sooner when the service changes dictate that a route must be reviewed. Our aim is to offer consistency and provide transport arrangements for the young person for the duration of their time at their establishment.

If home to school transport is agreed to be necessary as part of a child or young person’s support plan, consideration should then be given to the following:

  • Distance to be travelled
  • Ability for independent travel
  • Journey duration
  • Medical, physical and psychological needs
  • Travel equipment eg harness, booster seat
  • Requirements for supervision or assistance

Information on all the above will be considered when deciding on the type of transport to be provided.

Where we have fulfilled our commitment to make transport arrangements and the parent rejects the proposed transport there will be no further obligation on us to make alternative provision.

Wheelchairs, special seats and harnesses

Where pupils have mobility requirements, or need specialist equipment, drivers and passenger assistants will be briefed accordingly.

All equipment used will be done so according to the manufacturer’s requirements and in accordance with the law.

Wheelchairs must be of an appropriate design and strength for transport purposes.

If a pupil is required to use a booster seat in a taxi or private hire car, we will provide the booster seat.

Use of passenger assistants

Passenger assistants are provided to support children and young people travelling on school transport who are assessed as requiring supervision because of specific medical, physical or safety reasons.

When a pupil’s needs are such that a passenger assistant is required, the passenger assistant will be provided by us, or in some cases the transport operator.

Every passenger assistant will be provided with client-centred training and pre-employment checks including a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme. Refresher training will be undertaken on a regular basis.

A passenger assistant’s duty is to accompany a child on and off school transport providing adequate care and supervision and ensuring that a high standard of health and safety is always maintained.

Passenger assistants are not responsible for taking pupils between their home and the transport vehicle. Where pupils share transportation, the passenger assistant is required to always remain on the vehicle for supervision purposes.

Travel passports are developed for each child and passenger assistants are provided with information on the specific individual needs of each child and how those needs can be best met.

Passenger assistants will carry contact details for the Passenger Transport team, school and parents/carers of each pupil. Where specific equipment which relates to transport is required, this will be made available to the passenger assistant/driver prior to the commencement of the contract.

Passenger assistants act as a link between schools and parents/carers, including the safe handover to school staff. Any issues or concerns should be reported as soon as possible to the school or specialist provision who will liaise with the Passenger Transport team as appropriate.

Passenger assistant communication

The school will liaise with the Passenger Transport team to provide all medical, communication and safety needs as well as any specific requirements for each pupil.

This information will be combined into a Pupil Passport which will be created by the school with the input of the parents/carers and will be cascaded to the passenger assistant prior to starting the contract they are allocated to and reviewed regularly.

Where it is deemed necessary, arrangements will be made by the Passenger Transport team for passenger assistants to be introduced to the child and parent/carer prior to the commencement of the contract.

We appreciate that children with additional support needs often find it difficult to adapt to changes to their usual routines. This introduction can help to provide some reassurance and reduce any anxieties.

Prior to the start of the new school year when passenger assistants are allocated to school contracts, relief or cover passenger assistants will also be identified should sickness or absence cover be required. Whilst it is our aim to provide consistency for children and young people, changes in passenger assistants may be unavoidable, particularly at the start of each school year as arrangements across the whole service can change.


Parents/carers should watch for the arrival of the vehicle at your home or pick-up point and you should make sure that your child is ready to join the transport vehicle when it arrives in the morning. The operators are obliged to wait for up to five minutes before moving to the next pick-up point. Any delay may result in delays further on in the journey to other pupils on the route and may disrupt school start time.

The arrival time of the vehicle should be consistent to within a few minutes either way but may vary slightly due to road and/or weather conditions. If the vehicle is persistently late the school should be notified.

Similarly, in the afternoon you must meet your child when the vehicle arrives. Where parents/carers are not at home in the afternoon to receive their child and cannot be contacted, operators are advised to contact either the school or the Passenger Transport team for advice. An attempt will be made to contact you, or your emergency contacts so that arrangements can be made for you to pick up your child. If this is not possible, the child will be returned to the school or to the safest and most suitable premises available in the circumstances and remain in the care of them until alternative arrangements can be made.

If there is a problem on a particular morning, or your child is unwell and unable to attend school, then you must inform the passenger assistant or transport operator as soon as possible to avoid delays for other children within the vehicle or unnecessary payment if the vehicle need not operate. Where there are appointments that are known in advance, the Passenger Transport team must be given at least 48 hours’ notice by the school so that the operator and passenger assistant, if applicable, can be notified. It is also important that the passenger assistant/transport operator is advised when your child will return to school again.

If your child misses the transport vehicle in the morning we will not pay or make alternative transport to/from school. Please note if your young person does not use transport in the morning, your transport will be automatically cancelled in the afternoon unless specifically notified by the school. Parent/carers must notify the school of any changes in their circumstances, especially any change of address. Please note that passenger assistants and school transport operators will only take instructions from the Passenger Transport team and cannot make amendments to journeys at the request of parents.

Full details of the responsibilities of all parties can be found on our website.

Safety during transportation

We are responsible for your child’s safety and supervision whilst they are on board the vehicle. Operators and passenger assistants will ensure that passengers are picked up and set down at safe and suitable locations.

Where vehicles are fitted with child locks or window locks, these are not normally used, as they can delay evacuating the vehicle in an emergency. Where your child needs to remain in their wheelchair whilst travelling, it is important that you inform the school in advance if a new wheelchair is being considered. This is essential to ensure that an assessment can be undertaken in terms of the suitability of the current vehicle and to ensure the wheelchair can be conveyed using the appropriate restraining equipment.

In the event of an accident the passenger assistant/operator will inform the school, parents/carers, and Passenger Transport team as soon as possible. The school/Passenger Transport team may be asked to help notify you if the passenger assistant cannot reach you.

Behaviour during transportation

The passenger assistant or transport operator will report to the school and Passenger Transport team any pupil whose behaviour in the vehicle becomes unreasonable or unsafe. Occasionally, an individual pupil may hurt a passenger assistant or operator. If this begins to occur more frequently, discussions will take place between you, the school, and the Passenger Transport team as to whether there are any measures or strategies which could be introduced to reduce the risk or if it is practical to continue to provide transport assistance for the pupil to the school.

Emergency guidance

In adverse weather conditions, transport operators/drivers will use their discretion to decide whether a journey can be made safety. If a morning journey begins but is abandoned, the driver will return all children on board the vehicle to their homes and into the care of a responsible adult. As soon as is practicable, the driver will contact the Passenger Transport team to advise them of the action taken.

In the event of severe weather conditions please check transport cancellations on our website.

Passenger assistants may notify parents directly when they are unable to operate the contract.