Transport Entitlement Information for children and young people with SEND

Parents have a legal responsibility to make sure their child attends the school they are on roll at. Children that attend a Special School or Learning Resource Base, will not always qualify for help with travel.

You can find full details of school and college transport assistance here: Southend-on-Sea City Council Home to School Transport Policy.

If you want to apply for a bus or rail pass, an online application can also be made there.

If you live in Southend, you can make an application for help with travel and request the type of help you would like. Southend-on-Sea City Council are required to promote sustainable travel to school, so all help with travel will be provided in the most efficient way.

How to apply

Any family that live in the city of Southend-on-Sea and have a child or young person aged between 4 and 19 years in full-time education can make an application to Southend-on-Sea City Council for travel assistance.

Applications for travel to a Special School or Learning Resource Base must be made in writing.

Your application will help us decide if your child qualifies for help with travel and the best choice of travel for them. If you live in another Borough or Local Authority, you should apply to them.

For the new school year in September 2024, any application that has been received by Southend Council by 31 May 2024 and which is approved will be guaranteed that the travel assistance provided will be in place for the start of the autumn term.

Applications received after 31 May 2024 will naturally continue to be processed, and travel assistance awarded when eligible, but will not have the same guarantee.

Find out more about applying for help with travel.

Criteria for accessing home to school transport

Children that are attending their closest suitable school or college, can get help with travel if:

  • they receive high rate Disability Living Allowance for mobility, or
  • enhanced rate Personal Independence Payment for mobility, or
  • the school named in the child's Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is:
    • over 2 miles from their home for primary aged pupils, or
    • between 2 to 6 miles from their home for secondary aged pupils from a low income family, or
    • over 3 miles from their home for all other pupils of secondary school age, and the wording in their EHCP does not exclude transport.

In certain circumstances, post-16 students may also be eligible for help with travel.

Full details about who may qualify can be found here:

Southend-on-Sea City Council uses specialist software to measure the distance from where a child usually lives and their school. This is always measured as the shortest available walking route between the two. If the child spends equal time at two addresses, the address taken is the one that the Child Benefit is paid to.

Appealing a decision

If your application is not approved you have the option to make an appeal. In line with legal requirements, Southend-on-Sea City Council have a two stage appeal process.

Stage one appeals are considered by a senior officer of the Council. The officer will re-assess the original application, and either re-confirm the original decision to decline the application, or overturn it and support the appeal.

If the stage one appeal is turned down, you can choose to go to the second stage of the appeal process. The second stage gives you the opportunity to make a personal statement of appeal and provide any evidence of individual circumstances that you feel show that help with travel should be provided.

If you wish to do so, you can include supporting statements from other professionals who are familiar with your child. This might, for example, include information from school or medical professionals.

Stage two appeals are considered by the Special Educational Needs Panel which has professionals from different services in and outside the Council on it. You will have the choice to attend when this takes place. The Panel will decide whether to provide help with travel assistance, and if so, for how long.

The stage two appeal completes the appeal process.

Further information

If you have questions about any of the above, or how and when to apply for help with travel you can contact the Transport Entitlement Officer on 01702 534883 or at

A copy of the service specification for the procurement of home to school transport for children and young people with SEND is available from the SEND Local Offer team. Please phone 01702 212328 or email for a copy.

The Department for Education have written a blog post about free school transport which you may find helpful. Read the information here.