Local Authorities have a legal duty to provide certain children and young people with a provision of home to school transport. Furthermore, they can exercise their discretion to provide home to school transport for children and young people who might not otherwise be legally entitled to this.
For initial advice get in touch with our Education Law Solicitors.
Home to School Transport and the Law
The legal duty to provide transport varies on the age of the child or young person. There is specific legislation which sets out Local Authorities’ duties in relation to home to school transport for:
- Children of compulsory school age
In order to obtain a provision of home to school transport, you’ll need to complete an application form. The Local Authority will then consider your request. We recommend you submit as much evidence as possible with the application form, so they consider this when determining your application, which must be done in accordance with the legislation and their home to school transport policy.
What to Do if your Request is Refused?
If your request for home to school transport is refused, the Local Authority will give you the opportunity to complete an appeals process. However, if the matter is urgent, there might not be sufficient time to complete this process and you might want to consider pursuing an urgent Judicial Review instead.
We recommend you get legal advice on this before starting the appeal process because if the appeal is started, it’s likely you’ll need to complete it before we can consider if it would be appropriate to pursue a Judicial Review claim against the Local Authority.
What can you do if you appeal against the Local Authority’s decision and are unsuccessful?
Once you’ve completed the Local Authority’s appeal process, if you are unsuccessful you could consider either a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman or a Judicial Review. You cannot pursue both of these options and we therefore recommend you get legal advice from an Education Lawyer on which is appropriate for your case.
What can I do if the Local Authority has agreed to provide transport, but the transport they’re offering isn’t suitable?
You can follow the same process of appealing through the Local Authority’s appeal process. You should also consider whether at this stage it would be appropriate to pursue a Judicial Review.
As set out as above, if the Local Authority appeal process is unsuccessful, you should consider pursuing the matter further either through a Local Government Ombudsman complaint or a Judicial Review. Again, we recommend you get legal advice before deciding which of these options to take.
Can home to school transport be recorded in an Education, Health and Care Plan?
Whether or not transport provisions for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) is included in an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is decided on an individual basis by the Local Authority or by the First-tier Tribunal if you appeal against the contents of the EHCP.
They should both base their decision on whether to include it in an EHCP on whether or not it amounts to a special educational need and special educational provision. But in a lot of cases where a child has received home to school transport, the Local Authority or First-tier Tribunal won’t conclude that it is special educational provision. It's therefore likely to only be in exceptional cases in which the legal tests for this can be satisfied and it will be recorded in Sections B and F of an EHCP.
Should I ask for home to school transport to be included in my child’s EHCP?
If you believe that home to school transport is needed for your child due to their special educational needs, you should request that it's included in Sections B and F of their EHCP. I also recommend that you ask for this to be recorded as a special educational provision in Section F if Section B already includes a description of transport difficulties, as provision should be recorded to meet the need described.
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