Research identifies widespread and serious legal failings by local authorities in relation to transport entitlement 23/08/2017 08:04

Research carried out by Leeds University has uncovered serious legal failings by local authorities (“LAs”) in relation to the information contained on their websites concerning transport entitlement for children with special educational needs (“SEN”) and/or disabilities. The research, funded by the disabled children’s charity Cerebra and  undertaken by students at the School of Law, Leeds University was conducted under the supervision of Professor Luke Clements and Sorcha McCormack.

Between November 2016 and January 2017 student volunteers at the School of Law analysed the websites of 71 English LAs to assess the accuracy and accessibility of their information concerning transport entitlement. IPSEA are delighted to have contributed to this important research and our submission can be found in Annex 3 of the report.

 The main findings in the report included:

  • Almost half of the sites were considered difficult to understand and/or to navigate (para 4.07);
  • Almost half of the sites failed to include mention of one of the four statutory categories of eligible children (para 4.09);
  • Four out of ten sites failed to provide information as to how an application could be made for supported school transport (para 4.13);
  • Almost four out of ten sites ‘failed make it clear that children who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their SEN, disability or mobility issues are entitled to transport’ (para 4.10);
  • In many sites reference was made to non-statutory (arguably unlawful) local criteria (para 4.10).

The report describes the legal failings as:

“at the very least, reckless: in the sense that it is probably cost effective not to provide clear and concise information as this will deters families’ from accessing their statutory entitlements”. (para 5.01)

In terms of remedial action, the report recommends:

“The Secretary of State would appear to be under a public law duty to have regard to these findings and to consider taking action to address this failure”. (para 5.05)

If you want to know more about the law on transport and what your rights are, you can find plenty of information here. If you require advice from one of our specially trained volunteers you can book a call back here.


IPSEA mailing list

Click here to join our mailing list so that we can send you relevant updates and information.

IPSEA training

IPSEA provides a wide range of SEN training for Parents, School Staff, Parent Forums, Support Groups, Local Authority SEN teams, Parent Partnership Schemes, School Governors and other groups / organisations. Click here for details.

Advice Line

This provides next step advice on: problems with schools, requesting statutory assessment, statements and Education, Health and Care Plans, annual reviews, disability discrimination and exclusion. Please click here to book an appointment to get one of our advisers to call you back.

Tribunal Helpline

Our Tribunal Helpline Gives next step advice on SEN appeals and disability discrimination claims to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal. When you call we will also assess whether you need casework support. Please click here to book an appointment to get one of our advisers to call you back.

Information Service

The Information Service is for general legal enquiries and will signpost you to factsheets and resources on our website.  The Information Service cannot provide specific advice about individuals and their circumstances.

Face to Face Advice

IPSEA is now able to offer free and independent legally based SEN advice at Face to Face sessions organised in conjunction with the Pen Green Centre for children and families (

For information on how to book a session please click here.