The statutory Travel to school for children of compulsory school age 2024 Guidance makes clear that your local authority (LA) should:

  • carry out an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, with a check of the children’s barred list, for drivers and passenger assistants involved in providing dedicated school transport
  • provide you with as much notice as possible of any changes to your child’s travel arrangements
  • consider whether there are measures it can take to minimise negative impacts for your child if long journeys are unavoidable
  • make sure that drivers and passenger assistants working on dedicated school transport have undertaken appropriate training and that this is kept up to date. The training that a driver or passenger assistant requires may be dependent on the needs of your child, and
  • more specifically, make sure its transport staff have had equality training and any training required to meet the specific needs of your child. 

The government guidance, ‘Home to School Travel for Pupils Requiring Special Arrangements’, also advises on particular issues affecting pupils with severe learning difficulties and it recommends that LAs:

  • ensure drivers and escorts are known to parents
  • operator contact numbers are provided for parents
  • ensure stability of staffing arrangements for pupils who dislike change
  • encourage schools and transport services to use a home-school liaison diary, and
  • ensure that journey times are reasonable to avoid undue stress.

Other legal requirements and good practice points covered by this guidance include:

  • enhanced DBS checks for all drivers and escorts
  • minimum standards of training for drivers and escorts, including training in conflict resolution, safe handling and working with children with particular medical conditions or disabilities where appropriate
  • assessment and management of risk
  • specific measures for pupils with health needs, and
  • specific training for staff and vehicle adaptations for pupils with mobility needs.

This guidance recommends that travel needs of pupils with SEN be reviewed at least annually and that pupils should always travel by using mainstream arrangements and local travel schemes where they can. Reviews can decrease as well as increase transport support.