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Free school meals

If you are eligible to claim free school meals and your child is not attending school due to the lockdown, your child’s school will provide a food hamper or vouchers.

Please contact your child’s school if you have any queries.

If you are pregnant or have a child under four years old you could also get Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods.

Free school meals (Pupil Premium)

Free school meals are a statutory means-tested benefit which provides a child or young person with meals at school for free.

We want to make sure that everyone who is eligible is using this benefit. Some parents in the borough who are eligible to claim free school meals for their children are not claiming their entitlement.

Taking up free school meals has positive outcomes for everyone:

  • children can benefit from a healthy free nutritious meal
  • families entitled to free school meals could save more than £400 per child per year by claiming free school meals
  • it’s anonymous for parents (because so much of the application process can be done online, a person's entitlement is mostly processed electronically)
  • it’s anonymous for young people (thanks to our cashless catering system, claiming free school meals is anonymous – cards are swiped in the same way as a paid-for meal so nobody knows that it’s a free school meal)
  • schools can benefit directly by receiving money from the government

Registering for free meals could also raise an extra £1,320 for your child’s primary school or £935 for your child’s secondary school, paid by the government, to fund valuable support like extra tuition, additional teaching staff or after school activities. Your school could benefit from hundreds of thousands of pounds.

If you have a live claim for free school meals this will automatically be carried over and awarded for your child from 1st September 2018. Any child moving from infants to junior or junior to secondary schools with a live award will also automatically be moved over to the new allocated school. New claims are not required for any child with a current live award for free school meals.

Letters will not be sent to either parents or schools; all schools will be notified and sent a full report detailing all live free school meals awards valid from September 2018 so they can update their systems.

Who can claim free school meals

If you are on a low income or receive Child Benefit and any of these benefits, you could claim free school meals for your child:

  • Child Tax credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (earnings after tax and not including any benefits you get)

You may qualify for free school meals for your child if:

  • you are an asylum seeker
  • you live outside Barking and Dagenham but meet the previous criteria and your child is attending a school in the borough
  • your only or main income is one of the benefits listed

Universal free school meals (Key Stage 1)

Your child will still be able to get free school meals under the current universal free school meals policy if they’re in:

  • reception class
  • year 1
  • year 2

To ensure your child’s school receives the additional funding for Pupil Premium, complete the new application form available at your child's school reception.

Apply for Pupil Premium registration (free school meals)

Make sure you have your National Insurance and Child Benefit number to hand when applying for free school meals.

All schools have been asked to treat the application and award of free school meals sensitively.

Pupil Premium registration (free school meals)

All children who are in Key Stage 1 (Reception, Year 1 and 2) at a state-funded school are offered a free healthy school lunch.

Children in other school years will be offered a free school meal if their parent or guardian is receiving any welfare benefits or has a low household income.

Registering your child enables your child’s school to fund valuable support like extra tuition, additional teaching staff or after-school activities.

Registering for Pupil Premium

The best way to contact us and apply for Pupil Premium is to use our registration form below.

Pupil Premium registration form

If you've made a report previously you can check the progress of your report

Free travel for children under 16s

All children under the age of 16 can travel for free on London buses and trams. Pupils must apply for a travel photo card before their 16th birthday.

Children who are 14 or 15 can travel free with a Child Oyster photo card. Children who look under the age of 14 can travel free on London’s buses and trams without a photo card.

Application forms for a child Oyster photo card are available at all Post Offices in Greater London and areas just beyond the boundary that are served by the London bus network, or you can apply online.

Apply for a child Oyster card

Special educational needs travel assistance

Travel assistance

The majority of pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) do not need and do not receive travel assistance. However, there are some pupils and students with severe learning difficulties, physical and medical needs who may need travel assistance; this can assist parents in getting pupils to school.

Eligibility for travel assistance depends on your child’s individual needs, age and ability. Where possible, children and young people with SEND will be encouraged and supported to travel independently.

There are 4 offers of travel we provide, and they are all based on an assessment of need and eligibility:

Mileage payment  

This allows you to use your own vehicle to take your child to and from school, this is calculated in distance from your home address to school, we only pay while the child is in the vehicle.

Direct payment  

This offers flexibility for you to make your own arrangements that suit your family’s needs, this can be used for you to pay someone to take your child to school, or if there are other siblings this can be used to pay for breakfast/after school clubs so you can take the eligible child to school yourself.

Independent travel training

Travel Trainers could work with your child for a maximum of 12 weeks (part time so your child does not miss any school), to support road safety, walking to school or using buses. Sometimes trainers can support a particular route for example from home to school or home to grandparents; or the training could build over a number of years so that your child could eventually plan routes to new destination for example a youth club or to a friend’s house. The training is personalised to your child and their needs. This is offered to all children from year 7 and above.

Taxi/minibus

This is offered to children where their needs are complex and may require more support. If your child is offered a taxi/minibus, then we do have collection points for most and these are within a safe walking distance from your home address. If your child’s school/provision changes you may be required to go to an allocated collection point.

If your circumstances change (move Address or School) – you must complete a new application as soon as possible this will help, make the transition smoother for your child. The new application is assessed as a new application and can take up to 4 weeks to process.

Travel assistance application form

Independent travel training

Our independent travel training service supports young people with special educational needs and disabilities to travel independently to and from their place of education. Our travel trainers help young people gain the confidence and skills they need to make their journeys safely and independently.

Suitability for independent travel training will be considered as part of the travel assistance application process. In addition to referrals through the council, if individuals have personal budgets or are self-funding, they can purchase travel training or travel support.

More information

If you require assistance completing the form, contact:

The Heathway children’s centre

020 8227 5500

theheathwaycentre@lbbd.gov.uk

If you have questions about your child’s journey to school and whether they qualify for assistance to travel to school, contact your local children’s centre, or our Transport Commissioning Team.

Transport Commissioning Team

Town Hall, Barking IG11 7LU

transport.request@lbbd.gov.uk

Local taxi and transport services

All the services can accommodate passenger assistants.

Company nameContact detailsVehicles availableOpening
hours
Barking and Dagenham 
Passenger Transport
020 8227 2445Accessible vehicles, minibuses6am to 6pm
LB Redbridge Passenger Transport020 8708 5303Accessible vehicles minibuses, MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars6am to 6pm
Clayhall Executive Cars020 8550 6767MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars24 hours
A2B Contract Cars01279 211694MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars24 hours
Dilshan Transport Group020 8599 7090Accessible vehicles, minibuses, MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars6am to 6pm
Fox Transport020 8986 6161Accessible vehicles, minibuses6am to 6pm
Highway Express    01708 744000Accessible vehicles, minibuses, MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars24 hours
Olympic South (HATS)020 3693 6962Accessible vehicles, minibuses, MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars7am to 6pm
Allfor Care Services Ltd0208 930 3087Accessible vehicles, minibuses24 hours

Independent Living Agency

Independent Living Agency website

Dial-A-Ride

DAR@tfl.gov.uk

Dial a ride website

DABD

transport@dabd.org.uk

DABD website

Travel assistance policies

See below for the:

  • Home to school travel assistance policy
  • Post-16 travel arrangements policy 2020-21

Qualifying for the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund

If you're between 16 and 19, you may qualify for weekly payments to attend school or college. To receive a bursary, you must regularly attend school or college and meet one of these criteria:

  • be in receipt of free school meals
  • be in care
  • be a care leaver
  • be receiving income support
  • be disabled and receiving both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Allowance

Payments will only be authorised if you follow these conditions:

  • attend all lessons on time
  • all work must be completed as requested by the teaching staff
  • good behaviour, attitude and effort at all times

For a school bursary, contact your school directly and ask about the 16 to 19 Bursary.

Bursary Fund application

To apply for the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund, fill in the following application form and return it to the school you are attending.

Bursary application form (DOC, 48 KB)

Barking and Dagenham College has more information about the bursary.

If your course is directly career-related (for example, it's not GCSEs or A levels), you may be eligible to apply for a bursary from the Colin Pond Trust Fund.  

Colin Pond Trust Fund

Extra financial help for students

Anyone over the age of 16, who is considering taking a further or higher education course but needs extra financial help, can apply for a bursary from the Colin Pond Trust Fund.

Colin Pond was a councillor in Barking and Dagenham who had a lifelong interest in education. He was a firm believer in the European Union and developed strong links with Witten in Germany. He left a sum of money to help young people benefit from an extended education.

Eligibility

To be eligible, applicants must be a resident of Barking and Dagenham (or attend school/college in the borough) or Witten, and be aged 16 or over. The bursary must be used to part-finance a qualification for a career, but not GCSEs. AS/A levels, GNVQs or similar qualifications.

Grants will not be given to fund work experience or business venture projects, or to fund courses where qualifications are unconnected to a career.

Contact us for an application form or further information by emailing colinpondtrust@lbbd.gov.uk

Appeals and complaints Toggle accordion

Appeals can be made by email to transport.appeals@lbbd.gov.uk.

Appeals procedure

Stage One: Review by a senior officer

A parent/carer has 10 working days from receipt of the local authority’s home to school transport decision to make a written request asking for a review of the decision.

The written request should detail why the parent believes the decision should be reviewed and give details of any personal and/or family circumstances the parent believes should be considered when the decision is reviewed.

Within 20 working days of receipt of the parent’s written request a senior officer will review the original decision and send a detailed written notification of the outcome of their review, setting out:

  • the nature of the decision reached; how the review was conducted
  • information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted as part of the process
  • what factors were considered
  • the rationale for the decision reached
  • and information about how the parent can escalate their case to stage two (if appropriate)

Stage Two: Review by an independent appeal panel

A parent has 20 working days from receipt of the local authority’s stage one written decision notification to make a written request to escalate the matter to stage two.

Within 40 working days of receipt of the parents request an independent appeal panel will consider written and verbal representations from both the parent and officers involved in the case and give a detailed written notification of the outcome (within 5 working days), setting out:

  • the nature of the decision reached
  • how the review was conducted (including the standard followed e.g. Road Safety GB)
  • information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted as part of the process
  • what factors were considered
  • the rationale for the decision reached and information about the parent’s right to put the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman (see below)

The independent appeal panel members are independent of the original decision making process and suitably experienced, to ensure a balance are achieved between meeting the needs of the parents and the local authority.

Local Government Ombudsman

There is a right of complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, If the complainant considers the decision of the independent panel to be flawed on public law grounds, the complainant may also apply for judicial review.

Complaints Procedure 

Should you wish to make a complaint about a service you have received please talk to the person who is providing the service or their manager in the first instance as most complaints can be sorted out 'on the spot' you can do this by emailing transport.request@lbbd.gov.uk or by calling 020 8227 2713. However, should you feel this is not possible or you do not receive a satisfactory response from the service area please contact our Complaints Team at complaints@lbbd.gov.uk and they will initiate a formal complaint investigation for you.

You may also write to the Complaints Team at:

Corporate Complaints Team, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Room 105, Town Hall, Barking, IG11 7LU  

If an applicant remains dissatisfied, they may consider contacting the Local Government Ombudsmen (LGO) or complaining to the Secretary of State for Education. The LGO is an independent organisation that looks into complaints against councils. It is a free service and information can be found online on the LGO website.

To complain to the Secretary of State, young people or their families should use the contact form on GOV.UK.

Any complaint should outline the case, set out the decision taken by the local authority and include any other relevant

documentation, for example any advice or decisions from the LGO where appropriate.

 

Travel assistance policies

Home to School Travel Assistance Policy 2021 to 2022 Toggle accordion

Home to School Travel Assistance Policy (PDF, 210KB)

1. Introduction

This policy is written for parents and young people to explain the arrangements that Barking and Dagenham Council makes to support travel arrangements for children and young people (CYP) with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) up to the age of 16. There is a post 16 travel home to school travel policy, which can be accessed on the Barking and Dagenham council web pages.  

This policy covers travel arrangements for children and young people aged 5 to 16.

Barking and Dagenham believes that support for eligible children and young people to develop independent travel skills helps enable them to take part, in education, employment, life and leisure activities within their communities.

Barking and Dagenham promotes the use of sustainable travel options and to support this we promote greener options for any travel assistance that we fund or organise.

Parents have a legal duty to make necessary arrangements to ensure their children attend school regularly and this policy does not remove that responsibility.

An Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) does not give the child an automatic entitlement to travel assistance. If a school has been named in the EHC Plan in accordance with parental preference and is not the nearest suitable school, transport will be the parents responsibility.

2. Scope of the policy 

This policy and guidance is relevant to residents of Barking and Dagenham who are: 

  • Parents/carers of a child with special educational needs and/or a disability aged 5-16, who attends education provision. Most (but not all) of these children and young people will have an EHC plan, and the policy explains the criteria that will apply. 
  • A carer or foster parent of a child who is looked after by Barking and Dagenham (LAC under the Children Act) and who also has special educational needs and/or disabilities, and who lives in Barking and Dagenham. We cannot provide travel assistance for LAC for whom another LA is responsible unless they agree to fund the costs, even if they are placed in Barking and Dagenham.

3. What is the legal basis for this policy?

Any duty on Barking and Dagenham to provide travel assistance is set out in the Education Act 1996, as amended by the Education and Inspections Act 2006. Schedule 35B of the Education Act defines eligible children (those who qualify for travel assistance) as children with special educational needs, disabilities, or mobility problems, who live within the walking distance, but cannot be expected to walk or access public transport.

Barking and Dagenham Council has considered the statutory legal framework and statutory guidance in formulating this policy. These include the Education Act 1996 and the requirements of the SEN and Disability Code of Practice (2015). Our policy aims to ensure that we identify those children and young people who are in need of an appropriate travel solution, making decisions that are fair and equitable and promote greater independence by providing life skills to help them prepare for adulthood.

The policy will be reviewed annually and will take account of any legislative or policy changes on home to school assistance.

Sustainable Travel

Barking and Dagenham Council seeks to reduce harm to the environment, for example minimising carbon emissions. The majority of children and young people attending education provision are able to walk to school or access free public transport

The council will award the most appropriate, sustainable and cost-effective form of travel assistance, in some cases we will arrange for an independent travel training assessment to determine this.

We do not have to make a travel award where suitable ones already exist. In London children can usually travel for free, using Transport for London (TfL) provision. An outline of TfL free transport provision is given below.

We owe a duty to all residents to use our resources effectively. We must act in accordance with the law, including the Equalities Act 2010.  

4. What are the eligibility criteria? 

Parents/carers have a legal responsibility to ensure their child’s attends school regularly. This policy outlines the travel solutions that will be considered in cases where a child’s needs are such that prevent them from being able to walk, cycle or access public transport even with an adult to accompany them.

An EHCP does not give the child an automatic entitlement to free travel. If a school has been named in the EHC Plan in accordance with parental preference, and is not the nearest suitable school, transport will be the parents responsibility. 

Where the council agrees to provide travel assistance, it will be reviewed each year as part of the annual review of the EHC plan with the explicit focus on moving to greater independence as the child becomes older. In addition, we will always review travel assistance eligibility when: 

  • the family address changes 
  • the school attended changes 
  • at phase transfer (from primary to secondary, secondary to post 16 and transfers between post 16 institutions) 
  • The current travel solution is no longer suitable due to change of needs of family circumstances change. 

We expect families to reapply for travel assistance when circumstances change.

If following review, the council believes that travel assistance is no longer required, it may be withdrawn, subject to a minimum of 6 weeks’ notice. Such a decision would be subject to the appeal procedures set out in this policy. 

The criteria we consider when making a decision about a child or young person’s eligibility to receive transport assistance are set out in the following sections. 

Criteria for Children under 5 years old 

There is no legal requirement for the council to make special arrangements for children under the age of 5 to travel between home and school. The council expects that children under the age of 5 will be taken to their educational provision by a parent or guardian. 

Barking and Dagenham Council has used its discretionary powers to expand the policy for children under the age of 5 attending a specialist provision to enable them to be considered under the same criteria as school aged children, from the start of their first term in Reception year.

Criteria for Children and young people attending school

The two primary considerations for determining eligibility for travel assistance are the individual needs of the child or young person, and the distance they live from the nearest suitable school:

Individual Needs

Does the child or young person have physical, learning and/or mental health needs which mean they cannot walk, travel by wheel chair, cycle or access public transport even if accompanied by a responsible adult? 

Distance

Does the child or young person live more than the statutory ‘walking distance’ from the nearest suitable school (This means a child who lives beyond the statutory ‘walking distance’ of 2 miles, for pupils below the age of 8, and 3 miles for those aged 8 and over).

Home to school when a closer suitable alternative has been offered

The distance criteria applies when a child cannot be placed by the council at a suitable school within walking distance, or by accessible public transport. 

Supported travel will only be provided for travel to a qualifying school. A qualifying school means one that can meet a child’s needs and is nearest to their home. The council will not agree to pay the transport costs for a child if a nearby school can meet the child’s needs but parental preference is for a school which is further away.

The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (2015) says a parent’s preferred choice of school may be further away from the child’s home than another school that can meet the child’s special educational needs. In such cases the council could name a nearer school if naming a further school was an unreasonable use of public expenditure. The council could also agree to name the preferred school on condition the parent agrees to meet the transport costs. If at any point the parent then said they would not meet the transport costs the council would review the placement and make a decision based in accordance to the statutory framework.

How we measure distance

We measure distance using online mapping tools, which measure the actual distance travelled (i.e. not a straight line or “as the crow flies” between home and school). Please note that that walking routes are often shorter than driving routes.

Travel costs of parents/carers accompanying children 

Parents are expected to accompany children to school (or to make arrangements for them to be accompanied by an authorised adult) if this is necessary for the child’s safety. Any travelling expenses for the parent are the responsibility of the parent. 

The council does not provide assistance with travel costs for adults accompanying children to school unless there are exceptional circumstances. Where a parent or carer through illness, incapacity, or some other reason finds it unusually difficult to accompany a child to school, they can request a Care Act assessment of their needs relating to their ability to carry out their caring responsibilities.

Other parental circumstances

Travel assistance is made on the basis of the individual child’s needs and cannot take in to account individual parental circumstances. Please be aware that the following are not taken into account when considering applications:

  • A parent’s work or childcare arrangements
  • Taking other children in the family to and from school
  • Temporary pick up and or drop off at a different place: travel arrangements are agreed for the child or young person’s main residence to their place of education only. We are not required to make arrangements for a child or young person to be picked up and/or dropped off at a different address.
  • Being in receipt of the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance does not necessarily confer eligibility for free school transport but neither does it preclude it if the child is an eligible child.

5. Travel assistance - range of options  

For children and young people who are able to access it, Transport for London (TfL) provides free or subsidised travel. Further information is available on the TfL website.

For children and young people who are unable to access public transport, Barking and Dagenham makes use of a range of travel assistance solutions to best address the individual needs of children and young people, but which also utilises existing networks, to promote independence and which represent the most cost effective and sustainable mode of transport. 

Before requesting travel assistance, parents may wish to consider: 

  • Do you have access to a blue badge for your child? Your child may be more settled if you are able to take them to school. 
  • Are there travel arrangements that you are able to make with family, friends or neighbours whose child attends the same school? 

Different forms of travel assistance we will consider 

If a child is eligible for travel assistance, the following forms of assistance are considered: 

  • Funding for the provision of a travel card (Oyster or Freedom Pass) for the parent/ carers to enable them to accompany their child where they have access to free travel on London Buses and where parents’ consent. 
  • Public transport with or without a Passenger Assistant When people are eligible for Freedom passes they can fund their own transport. 
  • Use of family car with a milage allowance 
  • Independent travel training support, which could take place from year 6 onwards and which could include assistive technology 
  • A taxi or school bus provided by Passenger Transport Service (PTS) who would take your child to and from school, from a pickup point near your home. 

Escorts/passenger attendants 

Where the council has decided that it is necessary to provide assistance with travel, we will, in addition, consider whether it is necessary to provide a Passenger Assistant to supervise the child/young person’s journey. This will depend on, amongst other matters: 

  • their age 
  • medical needs (for example a child with uncontrolled epilepsy may require an escort) 
  • mental capacity (for example some children and young people with profound and multiple difficulties may require continuous support and attention) 
  • level of behaviour difficulties 
  • level of physical difficulty (should they need continuous support and attention) 

Personal Travel budget with direct payment for travel assistance 

If travel assistance is agreed, the council will consider a request for a Personal Budget. If this is via a direct payment then a personal budget direct payment agreement form will need to be signed. 

A personal budget will only be agreed where: 

  • the young person is eligible to receive transport assistance under this policy 
  • it is an efficient use of the council’s resources 
  • the child or young person achieves and sustains good attendance 

Independent Travel Training 

For young people who receive any travel assistance under this policy, consideration will be given to their need to become independent travellers in preparation for adulthood and achieving maximum independence. Barking and Dagenham commissions an accredited travel training programme which enables pupils who are eligible for transport assistance, to develop the skills needed for independent travel. 

Behaviour Agreements 

Parents and pupils share responsibility for ensuring that acceptable behaviour is maintained to ensure a safe and stress free journey for all on school transport. 
Travel arrangements are provided on the understanding that a child behaves in a reasonable manner during the journey. If a child demonstrates behavioural difficulty giving persistent cause for concern (i.e. threatens the health and safety of themselves, other children, the driver or passenger assistant) and all attempts to modify the child’s behaviour have been resisted, travel assistance will be reviewed. Where despite all efforts it is no longer feasible for the child or young person to be on council provided transport we will provide a personal transport budget as an alternative.

6. Special cases

Pupils with EHC Plans where a residential school is named

Where the EHCP names a residential school as the only or nearest school:

Travel assistance will be provided at the beginning and end of each of the three academic terms (3 term year) and each of the three half terms, other periods when the school is closed, and an additional return journey at the weekend for each half term.  

It is expected that parents will be responsible for the cost of any additional journeys to and from school. Requests for additional journeys during term-time can be considered and assistance given using discretionary powers if the circumstances are exceptional.  
 
Where children attend on a weekly boarding basis, transport will be provided at the start and end of each week and for other periods of school closure only. 

Pupils with a temporary disability or medical condition/mobility problems

Where pupils have a temporary condition that prevents them getting to school we may award travel assistance on a temporary basis. Supporting medical evidence will be required for stop the assistance will come to an end when the temporary condition no longer exists. 

7. Applications, awards, reviews, appeals and complaints

How to apply

The application form for travel assistance is available online. It is recommended that you apply for transport once your educational provision has been agreed, as claims can not be backdated.  

Awards of travel assistance

The council processes all applications as soon as practicable. Awards will be made from the date the completed form and supporting evidence is received.  

Any award of travel assistance will be made for a specified period, or until it is reviewed. No award will be for more than one academic year. When an award of travel assistance ends it is the responsibility of the parent to make a further application.  

Reviews

Assessments of the need for travel assistance will be reviewed annually and more frequently where circumstances change within the year.

Changes in circumstances

Parents need to reapply for travel assistance for their child if any changes in circumstances that may affect entitlement to travel assistance. These include a change of address, school, safety of the route, income if qualifying under the extended rights given to low income families, changes in the health or SEND or associated needs of the child/parent or other member of the family that affects the child getting to school

Eligibility checks 

The council has a duty to ensure that it protects public funds. The council may contact families during the academic year, to ensure they are still eligible for travel assistance. 

Awards made in error

Where an award of travel assistance has been made in error, the council has the right to withdraw this after first considering the circumstances of each case to determine whether there are exceptional reasons for provision to continue. 

Where it is decided to withdraw transport, up to one term’s notice will be given. If the error was discovered before the commencement of the academic year the assistance will be withdrawn straight away.

Fraud

Where an award of travel assistance has been made as a result of fraud it will be withdrawn immediately. All monies paid will have to be repaid. Legal action to recover monies may be taken. Criminal proceedings may be taken, which may lead to conviction.  

Appeals

The council has adopted the appeal procedure recommended by the Department for Education Guidance

Complaints 

Complaints about the service provided by council relating to home to school transport can be made by using the council’s complaints procedure

Local Government Ombudsman

The Local Government Ombudsman may investigate some matters relating to home to school transport. Details are given in our appeals policy.  

Exceptional Circumstances - asking the council to use its discretionary powers

The council may make an award of travel assistance for a pupil who does not meet the criteria of “eligible child” using its discretionary powers, as it considers necessary.   These are made in exceptional circumstances. Applications should be made as soon as possible on the Travel assistance application form. Such an award cannot be backdated.   

Applicants must provide all evidence listed or requested by the council. Where a form is incomplete and/or evidence is not provided as requested, within any given time limit, no award can be made.  

Where a discretionary award is made parents may be asked to make a financial contribution to the cost. We are able to charge for discretionary arrangements and have a duty to protect our resources. 

Definitions 

  • Section 444(5) of the Act defines the statutory walking distances. 
  • Schedule 35B of the Act defines: 
    • ‘eligible children’ (paragraphs 2-7 and 9-13); 
    • ‘qualifying school’ (paragraph 15); 
    • ‘disabled child’ (paragraph 15(4)); 
    • ‘religion and belief’ (paragraph 15(6)) and 509AD of the Act; 
    • ‘low income family’ (paragraphs 9-14). 
  • Section 579 of the Act defines ‘child’. 
  • Section 509AC of the Act defines ‘compulsory school age’. 
  • The Equality Act 2010 defines ‘religion or belief’ for the purposes of this Act. 
  • The Children’s and Families Act section 10 defines ‘SEN’ 

Key term glossary 

  • Home: A child’s 'home' is the place where he/she is habitually and normally resident. 
  • Nearest suitable school: Taken to mean the nearest qualifying school with places available that provides education appropriate to the age, ability and aptitude of the child, and any SEN that the child may have. 
  • Parent: Reference to parent in this document should be equated to mean parent/carer/legal guardian. 
  • Philosophical Belief: For a philosophical “belief” to be worthy of protection, it must attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance; be worthy of respect in a democratic society; and not be incompatible with human dignity or the fundamental rights of the child. Examples of beliefs are humanism and atheism. 
  • Road routes: Reference to road route should be taken to mean a route passable by a motor vehicle, and could include distance covered on additional transport, e.g. via ferry. 
  • Qualifying school:
    • community or foundation special schools; 
    • non-maintained special schools; 
    • pupil referral units; 
    • maintained nursery schools; or 
    • city technology colleges (CTC), city colleges for the technology of the arts (CCTA) or academies, including free schools and University Technical Colleges (UTC)

Post 16 Travel Assistance Policy 2021 to 2022 Toggle accordion

Post 16 Travel Assistance Policy (PDF, 222KB)

1. Statement

Local authorities have a duty to prepare and publish an annual Transport Policy Statement (TPS) specifying the arrangements for the provision of transport or otherwise that the authority considers it necessary to make, to facilitate the attendance of all persons of sixth form age receiving education or training.

We are committed to ensuring that sixth form students (including those with Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) up to age 25 if they started a course before their 19th birthday) have access to educational opportunities at school, college or other training establishment, enabling them to get the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for them to pursue their chosen careers and, to meet the challenge of employment and personal development in the future.

This Policy Statement describes the help with transport costs that is available to Barking and Dagenham sixth form aged students (including those with Education, Health and Care Plan up to age 25 if they started on course before their 19th birthday).

This statement is published in line with the statutory duties under the Education Act 1996, including s.509AA and s.509AB and takes into account the Department for Education statutory guidance - Post 16 transport to education and training - January 2019. 

2. Travel options and costs

Details of all concessionary / free fares, discounts, subsidies, passes or travel cards available for learners aged 16-18 and who provides them, plus details of any costs to the learner.

Free or reduced-price travel  

Most students of sixth form age and adult learners will be able to get to school/college or training on foot or by using public transport.   
There are many travel options for learners within our Borough, and within London, and this is either free or offered at a reduced rate, by Transport for London for many students who are 16 or over.     

Transport for London travel for students of sixth form age  

16+ Oyster Photo Card 

Students who are 16 to 18, live in London and are in full time education, can apply for free travel on buses and public transport using a 16+ Oyster photo card if they are: 

  • Under 19 on the 31st August prior to the start of the current academic year. 
  • Living in a London Borough; and 
  • In full-time education (as defined under the scheme) 

This enables students to travel for free on Buses and Trams. Students can also get reduced travel fares on the Tube, DLR and London Overground Services. 
Students may apply for an Oyster Card through the Transport for London website

Freedom Pass 

The freedom pass is for people who have permanent disability that imposes a mobility problem or who are registered blind.  

The 16-19 Bursary Fund 

This is a discretionary award available for education-related costs for students between the ages of 16 and 18. It can also be made to pupils who are 19 or over if they continued on a course they started when they were 16, 17 or 18 or if they have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).   

Find out more at 16 to 19 Bursary Fund - GOV.UK .

Dial–a–Ride 

Some students may be eligible for travel assistance from Dial-a-Ride (TFL) if they meet any of the following criteria: 

  • A Taxi Card Member 
  • Are in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility component of Disability Living Allowance 
  • Are registered blind or partially sighted. 
  • Are in receipt of Higher Rate Attendance Allowance 
  • Other students can apply but will need to complete a paper-based assessment to determine their eligibility 

To apply,  Download the Dial-a Ride application form or call 0343 222 7777. 
 

Young Parents 

Care to Learn (C2L) is a scheme that can help young learners with childcare and travel costs if they are 19 or under when they start their course. 

Apprentices and trainees

Apprentices and trainees can make use of TfL concessions as above and may obtain some assistance from their employer. Information is available at Gov.uk.

3. SEND Applicants 

Where a student has a learning difficulty or a disability, a transport needs assessment should be completed by the Education, Health and Care Plan team as part of the annual review and/or part of the transition process. 

A student / student’s family can apply to the council for help with transport costs for Post-16 education. The level and type of travel assistance is discretionary and will vary depending upon individual circumstances. A student / student’s family may already be in receipt of some / all of the following which would help to determine the level of funding required from the council:

  • free school meals
  • maximum level of Working Tax Credit
  • any level Universal Credit
  • Council Tax Reduction (previously known as Council Tax Benefit)

Young people commencing Post-16 provision who have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will have the name of the Post-16 institution that they will be attending named in that Plan. Should a young person with an EHCP choose to attend a Post-16 institution other than that which is named in their EHCP, then this may impact on the level of travel assistance that can be provided.

In making a decision, the council would have to be satisfied that:

  • Any different arrangements would meet the needs of the child/young person
  • No additional costs would be incurred by the council

Independent Travel Training for learners who face difficulty with transport

The council preferred option for young people with an EHCP is Independent Travel Training (ITT) which seeks to promote independence so that students will ultimately be able to travel on their own. 

For some students Independent Travel Training (ITT) would not be appropriate due to their complex needs, but where students have the potential to benefit from Independent Travel Training it is expected that those students will take part in the programme.

It is a programme of support that aims to enable a young person to become an independent and safe traveller; as a result it covers topics such as road safety, personal safety, journey planning and coping strategies.

If it is identified through a transport needs assessment process that travel training would be an option for an individual student, a referral can be made by the school, EHCP team or the family / young person. On receipt of a referral, the team will evaluate the suitability of travel training for that particular student, and where appropriate begin a personalised programme of training to meet their needs.

If a place is offered and a parent refuses to consent to their child attending independent travel training, their child’s eligibility may be reviewed and future travel arrangements may be offered on the condition that their child attends the training in the future. Continued refusal may lead to withdrawal of travel assistance, although consideration will be given to individual circumstances.

When to apply for travel assistance or support

You can apply any time after you know where you have been offered a place at school / college and you are encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible. All students need to apply on an annual basis.

4. Vulnerable Young People

The council may also offer assistance to a young person of 16 or 17 who is vulnerable to not being in education, employment or training (NEET), or who has already become NEET if it considers this necessary to support their participation in education, training or employment.   

5. How to apply for Travel Assistance

Applications must be made online using the travel assistance application form.  

Applicants must provide all evidence listed or requested by the council. Where a form is incomplete and/or evidence is not provided as requested, within any given time limit, no award can be made.   

Notes for applicants for discretionary awards 

Awards  

A decision will be given in writing, including reasons for a refusal. Where an application is successful, assistance will be given for a specified period, or until it is reviewed.  No award will be for more than one academic year.  It is the responsibility of the student to make a further application. Awards cannot be backdated. Applications should therefore be made as soon as a pupil is offered and has accepted a place, or their circumstances have changed when they are part way through a course.   

Reviews 

Assessments of the need for assistance will be reviewed annually and more frequently where circumstances change within the year.  

Changes in circumstances 

Students must inform the council of any changes in circumstances that may affect entitlement to assistance. These include a change of address or place of learning, changes in health or SEND or associated needs that affect travelling to the place of education/training.  

Eligibility checks 

The council has a duty to ensure that it protects public funds. The council may contact students during the academic year, to ensure they are still eligible for assistance.  

Awards made in error 

Where an award of assistance has been made in error, the council has the right to withdraw this after first considering the circumstances of each case to determine whether there are exceptional reasons for provision to continue. Where it is decided to withdraw assistance, up to one term’s notice will be given. If the error was discovered before the commencement of the academic year the assistance will be withdrawn straight away. 

Fraud 

Where an award of assistance has been made as a result of fraud it will be withdrawn immediately. All monies paid will have to be repaid. Legal action to recover monies may be taken. Criminal proceedings may be taken, which may lead to conviction.   

6. Appeals and complaints 

Appeals can be made by email to transport.appeals@lbbd.gov.uk

Stage One: Review by a senior officer 

A parent/carer has 10 working days from receipt of the local authority’s home to school transport decision to make a written request asking for a review of the decision. 

The written request should detail why the parent believes the decision should be reviewed and give details of any personal and/or family circumstances the parent believes should be considered when the decision is reviewed. 

Within 20 working days of receipt of the parent’s written request a senior officer will review the original decision and send a detailed written notification of the outcome of their review, setting out: 

  • the nature of the decision reached; 
  • how the review was conducted. 
  • information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted  
  • as part of the process; 
  • what factors were considered;  
  • the rationale for the decision reached; and 
  • information about how the parent can escalate their case to stage two (if appropriate). 

Stage Two: Review by an independent appeal panel 

A parent has 20 working days from receipt of the local authority’s stage one written decision notification to make a written request to escalate the matter to stage two. 

Within 40 working days of receipt of the parents request an independent appeal panel will consider written and verbal representations from both the parent and officers involved in the case and give a detailed written notification of the outcome (within 5 working days), setting out: 

  • the nature of the decision reached. 
  • how the review was conducted (including the standard followed e.g. Road Safety GB); o information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted as part of the process. 
  • what factors were considered; o the rationale for the decision reached; and 
  • information about the parent’s right to put the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman (see below). 

The independent appeal panel members are independent of the original decision-making process and suitably experienced, to ensure a balance is achieved between meeting the needs of the parents and the local authority. 

Local Government Ombudsman 

There is a right of complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman. 

If the complainant considers the decision of the independent panel to be flawed on public law grounds, the complainant may also apply for judicial review. 

Should you wish to make a complaint about a service you have received please talk to the person who is providing the service or their manager in the first instance as most complaints can be sorted out 'on the spot'. However, should you feel this is not possible or you do not receive a satisfactory response from the service area please contact our Complaints Team on 020 8227 2405 / 2111 or email  socialCareComplaintsandInformation@lbbd.gov.uk and they will initiate a formal complaint investigation for you. 

You may also write to the Complaints Team at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. 

If an applicant remains dissatisfied, they may consider contacting the Local Government Ombudsmen (LGO) or complaining to the Secretary of State for Education. The LGO is an independent organisation that investigates complaints against councils. It is a free service and information can be found online at on LGO website

To complain to the Secretary of State, young people or their families should use the contact form on gov.uk. Any complaint should outline the case, set out the decision taken by the local authority and include any other relevant documentation, for example any advice or decisions from the LGO where appropriate.  

Complaints about the service you have received may be made using the council’s complaints procedure, Email: SocialCareComplaintsandInformation@lbbd.gov.uk.

Contact details 

Transport Commissioning

Opening times: 7am to 5.30pm 
Telephone: 020 8227 2713 
Email: transport.request@lbbd.gov.uk 
3rd Floor, Roycraft House
15 Linton Road
Barking 
IG11 8HE 

Mobility Services 

Telephone: 020 8227 2334 - 020 8227 2325 
Email: mobility@lbbd.gov.uk 

Community Learning Development Team 

Telephone: 020 8227 5432 
Email: cldtintake@lbbd.gov.uk 

7. Local colleges  

Barking & Dagenham College,
Dagenham Road, Romford, RM7 0XU 
020 8090 3020     

Redbridge College,
Little Heath, Barley Lane, Romford R6 4XT
020 8548 7400 

Havering College,
Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch, RM11 2LL
01708 455 011