This guidance is for parents and carers of children who are entitled to transport support.
Hertfordshire County Council provides transport to children of statutory school age – not pre -schoolchildren even if those children have an EHCP and attend a special school.
If your child is not eligible for transport, you are responsible for their transport to and from school or college.
Transport for eligible children is only provided from a child’s permanent home address to school/college at the start and end of the standard school/college day.
Transport is provided for eligible students at the normal start and end times of the school or college day. Transport is not provided to accommodate breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, school trips, transition timetables or visits, or specific college course timetables.
Pick-up / drop-off points
Getting to and from the pick-up / drop-off points
For the majority of students, a ‘door to door’ service is not provided. Children are expected to walk a reasonable distance to and from pick-up and drop-off points, at the beginning and end of their journey.
Parents or carers are responsible for arranging accompaniment to and from the pick-up and drop-off point where they deem this necessary on safety grounds.
When transport has been provided because there is not a safe walking route to the nearest school, students are still expected to walk to a pick-up point on an "available walking route".
If your child has an individual pick up point it is your responsibility to take your child to the vehicle and ensure they are seated safely.
At the pick-up / drop-off point
Parents or carers are responsible for the safety and behaviour of their children when travelling to, from and at the pick-up / drop-off point.
Students should wait for the vehicle sensibly. Reports of inappropriate behaviour at the pick-up / drop-off point will be referred to the school and dealt with in accordance with the school’s behaviour and discipline policies. Students should be mindful that, while in uniform, they are representing their school.
Students should arrive at the pick-up / drop-off point 5 minutes before the advised scheduled departure time. Students should be ready to board the vehicle at the specified time. If they are not, the driver will leave after a few minutes and continue the journey without them to ensure a timely arrival at school for the other passengers. Transport will not return for your child if they have missed the scheduled departure time.
Students must travel with a ticket when one is issued. Students will not be able to travel without a valid ticket.
It is important that a responsible person is at the pick-up / drop-off point in the morning and afternoon when the vehicle arrives. If, due to unforeseen circumstances, an appropriate person is not at the drop-off point, you must contact the school and transport provider as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements.
If we are unable to contact you and an appropriate person is not available, social care services will be contacted.
Routes to and from school and pick-up / drop-off times are planned to be as efficient as possible for all students travelling on the vehicle. It isn't possible to accommodate the individual circumstances / preferences of each family (including work commitments or taking other children to school).
Parents or carers cannot choose their own pick-up and drop-off times. Times and locations are set to ensure the transport is efficient as possible and to minimise journey times.
If the vehicle is late
Wait at least 30 minutes before making alternative travel arrangements. Parents or carers should ensure they have the telephone number of their transport provider, should the vehicle be late.
Students should follow driver instructions and must not leave the vehicle without permission.
Part-time attendance at school or college
Where children are starting school and initially attending on a part-time basis parents or carers are required to make their own arrangements.
Lunch time journeys are not provided. Eligible students may use the normal morning or afternoon transport if they wish.
On board the transport
Boarding the correct service
We will send parents or carers confirmation of their travel arrangements. Parents or carers can ask to see the driver’s identification at the pick-up / drop off point.
When on board, students should immediately find a seat. Seat belts must be worn where provided.
Anti-social behaviour must reported to our Integrated Transport Unit (ITU) – call 0300 123 4050. The unit will investigate allegations and follow a set procedure to resolve any issues.
Children are not allowed to eat or drink on the vehicle.
Children must not distract the driver or interfere with doors, windows or safety equipment on the vehicle.
Some transport services operating on our behalf have CCTV installed to monitor student behaviour. This is provided for the safety and security of all passengers.
Infant seats and booster seats
If a child passenger restraint is required, parents or carers are responsible for providing the appropriate equipment for their child to travel with.
Securing children into passenger restraints is a joint responsibility of parents / carers and the transport provider for the morning journey. School staff will generally help in the afternoon.
It is the driver's responsibility to ensure all passengers are secure before the vehicle departs.
Changes to transport arrangements
Travel arrangements are likely to change multiple times. This includes changes of transport provider, changes to pick-up / drop-off times and locations, changes to journey length, changes of driver, along with other passengers joining and leaving the vehicle.
We recognise that changes can be unsettling, however, transport providers work with families and schools to minimise disruption.
For children/ young people with an Education Health and Care Plan, parents or carers must email the SEN Transport team at email@example.com if their child or children are moving school or home address. We'll need to reassess your transport eligibility.
Transport is only provided to a child’s permanent home address. Transport will not be provided to alternative addresses such as childminders, another parent or grandparents.
Bad weather conditions
During snow or severe weather conditions, transport providers will communicate with parents or carers and schools if they are unable to operate a service.
We support decisions to suspend services where travel would be considered unsafe for passengers, staff or other road users.
Transport providers take into account multiple factors when making a decision:
- availability of staff – can they travel safely between their home and the vehicle depot?
- road conditions along the whole route, including at the vehicle depot, at all boarding or pick-up / drop-off points and at the school
- pavement conditions for passengers between pick-up / drop-off points and their home or school (includes passengers with mobility issues)
- weather forecast for the rest of the day – if passengers are transported in the morning, is the afternoon return journey likely to be possible?
- buses and minibuses are often rear wheel drive, and don't handle snow as well as front or all-wheel drive vehicles.
Children/Young people with special transport requirements
Hertfordshire County Council provides transport to children of statutory school age – not pre -schoolchildren even if those children have an EHCP and attend a special school.
When applying for transport, parents / carers of eligible children/young people must provide all relevant information about any special travel and health/medical requirements.
You must inform us of any changes to your child’s needs – this could include details of health conditions, equipment requirements and any conditions that impact upon your child’s social, emotional and mental health.
Parents and carers are advised to discuss their child’s needs with the transport provider and pass on advice and guidance to help with their journey.
SEN home to school transport – a guide for parents
This guidance is for parents / carers who have children of statutory school age with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Parents / carers of children with SEND but without an EHCP should apply for transport in the normal way. Email any initial queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young people with an EHCP will be eligible for transport support if they attend the nearest suitable school to their home address (as named on their EHCP) and live:
- 2 miles or more from that school if the child is 4-8 years old (Reception to Year 3)
- 3 miles or more if the child is 8-16 years old (Year 4 to Year 11).
A young person will also be eligible if they're unable to walk the required distance due to their SEN or mobility needs, even when accompanied by a suitable adult. In these cases, applicants are required to submit independent professional evidence to support their application for transport.
Your child may be able to get free home to school transport if your family has a low income. That's if your child is entitled to free school meals or you get the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.
- Children aged between 8 and 11 who are eligible and living more than 2 miles and less than 3 miles from their nearest suitable school.
- Children aged between 11 and 16 to one of the three nearest between 2-6 miles.
What if I prefer a school further away?
If a young person is eligible, transport is provided to the nearest suitable school named in Section 1 of your young person’s EHCP.
Officers in the SEN Assessment Team make the decision about which is the nearest suitable school that can meet your young person's needs. If you have any queries about this, please contact your SEND officer.
The SEND Assessment Team’s decision about the nearest suitable school may not always be the same as the school you would prefer your child to attend. You may prefer a school that is further away.
If your preferred school is named in your young person’s EHCP and is further away than the school identified by the SEND Assessment Team, you will usually be responsible for arranging transport and for meeting any travel costs.
If you are considering asking for your preferred school to be named, it is very important that you take your transport responsibility into account.
You will be required to sign a transport disclaimer.
What type of transport is provided?
We will arrange suitable transport support to enable eligible young people to access their education placement and return home at the end of the usual school day.
Potential modes of transport
- Public transport passes – for young people able to use public transport to get to school. Travel Training can be provided free of charge for students aged 16+.
- A seat on a shared vehicle – with other young people travelling to school.
Where there is an available vehicle running to a school and there is space, this will be considered first and where possible the young person will be added. If there are no available vehicles, a larger vehicle may be provided.
- Personal Travel Budget
- Free travel training – enables young people with learning difficulties and / or disabilities to gain independent travel skills in preparation for and during their transition into Post 16 education and training.
More about travel training
What if I have concerns about what is happening on the vehicle?
From time to time, you or your young person may be concerned about travel arrangements. This is understandable, especially at the start of the year or if changes are made throughout the year.
To express your concerns:
- first raise your concerns directly with the transport operator so they can work with you and the school to resolve any difficulties. Operators will often involve the school in discussions so further support can be provided for the young person on a daily basis
- if difficulties persist, inform the HCC Contract Management Team on 0300 123 4050. We will offer support and consider what reasonable adjustments have been made and any further options that can be explored.
New vehicles or solo travelling are only agreed in very for exceptional cases.
Can I make my own arrangements and be paid instead?
Many parents prefer to make their own travel arrangements rather than use council contracted transport. We will pay travel costs in the form of a Personal Travel Budget.
Email email@example.com to apply.
If agreed, we pay for 4 home to school journeys per day at 55p per mile.
For example, where a family lives 10 miles from the school, 4 journeys (one journey to and from school in the morning and one to and from school in the afternoon) is 40 miles:
4 journeys = 40 miles x 55p = £22 per day.
Based on an average term of 65 school days, that's £1394 per term, £4180 for the academic year.
If your young person attends fewer than 190 school days, your PTB will be amended accordingly.
Benefits of a Personal Travel Budget
- You can take your child directly to school, allowing for significantly shorter journey times in some cases.
- Allows you flexibility to cover before and after school clubs, medical appointments etc. which are not covered by contracted vehicles.
- If you drive your child to school, they will not be sharing transport with other children, so the time they leave home in the morning and arrive home in the afternoon would never change, nor would the driver.
Our Travel Training team works with young people who have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to provide them with the confidence and skills to travel on buses and trains.
Being able to travel on public transport is a key life skill even after leaving education. It assists and encourages young people to make choices about how they live, go about daily life independently and fulfil their potential into adulthood.
How it works
Our team trains young people on a one-to-one basis. This is usually on a home to school or college journey.
They will arrange to visit you at home to talk through the training to make sure you and your son / daughter are happy with it.
The trainer will create a training plan for the young person that meets their needs. This will take into account suitable routes.
Initially, the trainer will accompany the young person on their journey, giving encouragement and guidance, until the young person develops the skills to travel on their own. This can be a gradual process at the young person’s own pace.
Our trainers work during the school and college holidays.
They will provide regular feedback on their progress so you will always know how things are going.
Where children with an EHCP require a residential placement following assessment:
- for termly boarders, we will provide travel assistance to and from home to the residential placement at the beginning and end of each term and half term
- for 52 week residential placements, we will provide assistance for travel to and from home to the residential school for eight visits throughout the academic year.
Your child will be expected to conform to reasonable standards of behaviour which allows all on the vehicle to travel safely.
Any behaviour which affects the safety of other travellers or the operation of the vehicle will not be tolerated and offenders may have their travel support removed.
If travel support is removed parents / carers will be responsible for getting their child to and from school / college and will be provided with a Personal Travel Budget.
What can I do if I am not entitled?
Where there is no entitlement to transport under our Home to School Transport policy, parents are responsible for arranging for their child to get to school or college.
Whilst it is not our responsibility to facilitate any arrangements, you may wish to consider:
- walking or driving your child to school
- accompanying your child on public transport
- arranging travel training so your child can travel to school independently
- contacting any local school contractors to if you can make a private arrangement for your child to travel in the vehicle (i.e. spare seat)
- car share with another family
- arrange for a friend or family member to take your child to school, paying their fuel expenses, if appropriate.
Provision of passenger assistants
Passenger assistants are not normally provided on vehicles. When considering whether a passenger assistant is necessary, we take account of:
- the young person’s medical needs, particularly where rescue medication is required
- where an individual young person’s needs create a clear danger or health and safety risk to themselves and other passengers on the vehicle
- where a passenger assistant is required to help manage the journey and support all passengers on the vehicle.
Passenger assistants are not medical professionals and, in an emergency, will call for help from the emergency services, via 999.
The transport operator is required to contact families before travel commences and families can arrange a ‘meet and greet’ to familiarise themselves with the driver and / or passenger assistant. This is your opportunity to discuss transport arrangements with the driver and offer helpful advice and information so your child can get off to a good start on the vehicle.
Some parents arrange with the driver for their children to take a soft toy or music and headphones to listen to, at the discretion of the operator. This can be a very useful method of enabling children to enjoy their journey to school in cases where they may otherwise have been anxious or nervous.
Passenger Assistant Policy 2023-24
Driver and passenger assistant safeguarding checks
Transport providers must ensure that all of their employees carrying out regulated activity on Hertfordshire County Council contracted transport services have been through safeguarding checks.
The checks carried out include an enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check. Drivers may already have an enhanced DBS check as part of their licensing requirement. Drivers of registered bus services are not designated as carrying out a regulated activity.
All passenger assistants are required to have an enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service check.
If your circumstances change
If your child moves to a different school or different home address, we'll need to reassess their eligibility. Provide as much notice as possible.
Parents and carers are under no obligation to use the transport offered and many choose to arrange their own travel using a Personal Transport Budget.
Personal Transport Budgets are usually only available for primary aged children and children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Read our Home to School Transport policy for more detail.
Contact the Integrated Transport Unit on 0300 123 4050 if transport is no longer required or something changes.
For additional information on public transport services, visit www.intalink.org.uk.
Reporting a lost or damaged ticket
Contact the Contract Enforcement and Ticketing Team:
0300 123 4050.
There is a small charge for replacement bus / coach tickets.
For rail transport, you must look after your rail ticket. It isn't possible to get a replacement and a full charge will be made for any lost tickets.