Where a young person is of ‘sixth form age’ and attending school or college, the law requires local authorities (“LAs”) to have a ‘Transport Policy Statement’ setting out home to school/college transport arrangements for particular groups of young people (section 509AA Education Act 1996).

You should be able to find your LA’s Transport Policy Statement on their website and/or within their Local Offer. There is statutory guidance, ‘Post-16 transport to education and training’, concerning the groups of young people LAs should prioritise and this includes young people with SEN.

Sixth form age means they are over compulsory school age (which ends on the last Friday in June in the academic year in which s/he turns 16) but under 19. If a young person began the course they are studying at school or college before their 19th birthday, they remain of sixth form age until they complete that course.

The legislation gives LAs the discretion to determine what transport and financial support are necessary to facilitate young people’s attendance. The LA must exercise its power to provide transport or financial support reasonably, taking into account all relevant matters. A failure to make the arrangements that are specified in a transport policy statement (or ensure that such arrangements are made) would amount to a failure to fully meet the duty.

Although there is no automatic entitlement to transport for those of sixth form age in the same way there is for ‘eligible’ children of compulsory school age, LAs have a discretion to assist with transport arrangements and are expected to target support towards students in particular circumstances (such as those with SEN or from low income families). It is unlikely that such transport will be free.

The purpose of the Transport Policy Statement is to specify the arrangements for the provision of transport that the LA considers it necessary to make to facilitate the attendance of all persons of sixth form age receiving education or training. When assessing what transport arrangements or financial assistance may be required, the LA should consider the needs of the most vulnerable or socially excluded learners. The needs of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities should be specifically considered and the arrangements in place for each group must be documented in the Transport Policy Statement.

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