School transport for children with SEND

Who to contact with your transport queries if your child has special educational needs or disabilities.

1 Overview

If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), and meets the distance criteria, we may be able to help with school transport.

If your child does not meet the criteria you may still be able to get help if their needs make their journey to school difficult. We will consider their case based on individual circumstances.

The Special Education Needs Assessment Team (SENAT) will inform the Transport Team that your child is eligible for assistance to get to school.

2 What happens next

Once the Special Education Needs Assessment Team (SENAT) have passed your details to the Transport Team, we will contact you. This is usually within three working days from the date that we receive the information from SENAT.

Your transport planner will send you a health and safety form which you will need to complete and return to us.

The transport planner will use all this information to draft a Transport Care Plan (TCP) and organise suitable transport. This could be public transport, a minibus or taxi; fuel payments are also available.

The transport team will be provided with a copy of the TCP which will be kept securely on the vehicle throughout the journey, to help staff understand the child or young person’s needs.

We will review your transport arrangements each year and encourage independent travel where possible.

3 What you can expect

As well as a driver, some routes may also have a passenger assistant (PA) on the vehicle. The points below outline the standards you can expect from the driver and PA.

Parents are not permitted to access the vehicle at any time, unless prior arrangements have been made with the Transport Bureau for manual handling or lifting purposes.

  • Both the driver and PA will have an up-to-date Disclosure and Barring Service clearance.
  • The driver will display their driver’s badge in a prominent position on their outer clothing.
  • The PA will display a West Sussex County Council issued photograph identification badge in a prominent position on their outer clothing. At all times they will wear a high visibility jacket/waistcoat.
  • In exceptional circumstances only, the vehicle will wait for up to 3 minutes for late passengers.
  • The driver/PA will advise parents if the route is operating more than 15 minutes late.
  • The driver/PA will assist passengers on/off the vehicle where necessary, but do not carry out manual handling/lifting.
  • The driver/PA will ensure the passengers are comfortable and that seatbelts are secured before the vehicle sets off.
  • The driver/PA will always return a passenger to his/her parent or guardian or agreed nominated adult. Under no circumstances whatsoever will they leave any passenger unattended, unless specifically authorised.
  • The driver/PA will never give any gifts whatsoever to the passengers - this includes sweets, food and drink.
  • The driver/PA will provide a smoke-free environment for passengers.
  • The driver/PA will not have inappropriate conversations with the passengers.
  • The driver/PA will not use mobile phones or cameras to take any photographs or recordings of passengers.
  • All reasonable steps will be taken by the Transport Bureau and operators to ensure the same PA is used regularly.
  • Where possible the PA will travel in the rear of the vehicle with the passengers.
  • Passengers travelling in wheelchairs must always face forward in the vehicle and be secured. They must never be transported, for even a short distance, without the appropriate restraint equipment. When passengers are travelling up or down on tail-lifts in their wheelchairs, the wheelchair brakes must be applied.

4 Frequently asked questions

My house is quite a way from the roadside/pull-in area. Can the driver let me know when they are outside?  

  • We can ask the driver to ring and let you know when they are outside your house. 

Will the driver or passenger assistant come to the door for my child?

  • It is your responsibility to take your child to the vehicle in the morning and collect them from the vehicle at the end of the day.

Can I have my child collected from, or dropped off at, a different address? 

  • We can only provide school transport from/to your main home address. 

Can I change my child’s collection/drop off time?

  • Our transport routes are planned geographically, in line with school arrival times and efficiency. We are not usually able to meet with requests for time changes, however you can notify us via our online enquiry form and we can keep this on our records for any future route changes.

Can you give me a lift on the transport or take my child’s friend?

  • No, the transport operators are not able to take any other passengers due to insurance and Health and Safety reasons.

Do you provide transport for after-school activities or induction and transition days?

  • We don’t provide transport for after-school clubs or classes/detention. You will need to make your own arrangements for any after-school activities.

Can I arrange to meet or speak with the new driver or passenger assistant prior to the first day at school?

  • Yes, if you contact the operator direct (the contact details will be on your school transport arrangements letter) the operator will organise this with you.

I am unhappy with some of the other passengers on the vehicle, can you change my child's route?

  • We are unable to offer route changes but would encourage you to support your child ready for transport and allow some time for the new route to settle down. If there are any issues on the route the passenger assistant or driver are there to deal with the issue.

When will my child’s Transport Care Plan be updated?

  • You should let our school transport planners know if your child’s needs have changed. Please complete our online enquiry form

I've been told that I will get free school transport. When will this start/will this start tomorrow?

  • We will endeavour to start transport within two weeks of you being notified, however we will try to make the arrangements in a shorter period. You may need to make your own arrangements in the meantime.

5 Transport enquiries

If you have any queries or issues regarding school transport complete our online form.

Our standard response time is usually within two working days, although we will be in touch sooner if we can.

School transport enquiry form for parents and carers
Last updated:
5 June 2023
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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.