Travel assistance for ages 5 to 16 with SEND
At Croydon council we offer a range of services designed to help you arrange your child’s travel in a way that builds resilience and allows them to lead a more independent life.
You can find our contact details by clicking on the corresponding tab at the top of the page.
Closing date for applications: 20 April 2023. Travel assistance will not be guaranteed for September term for applications received after the deadline.
You may be eligible for travel assistance if you meet the following requirements:
✔ The parent/carer and child reside in Croydon
✔ The child’s age is between 5 and 16
✔ The child is registered at a qualifying school (see travel assistance policy for full list of schools)
✔ The child cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of:
- their special educational needs, disability or mobility problems (evidence to this effect will be required)
- the nature of their route to school
Additional requirements may apply in accordance with our travel assistance policy ( you can view this in the downloads section at the foot of this page. Please read the policy carefully and only apply if you believe the child meets the requirements. Any applications failing to do so will be automatically rejected.
When applying for travel assistance the council will assess which of the following options is most suitable for your situation. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee in advance which type of support will be available for you.
Independent travel training
Pupils that have the potential, once trained, to travel to and from school independently may be offered independent travel training (ITT) a personalised, one-to-one program designed to support young people with special needs or disabilities to learn how to travel from home to school safely on their own.
To find out more please visit our independent travel training page.
Free travel on trams and buses
All children under the age of 16 in full time education can travel free on buses and trams. Pupils aged 16 and 17 can travel at half the adult rate. The council may offer further assistance with travelling on public transport where this is deemed necessary in light of the child's needs.
All young people aged over 11 are required to carry a ‘Zip’ Oyster photo card, which must be swiped on every journey to take advantage of the young person rates.
To apply for a Zip Oyster Card visit photocard.tfl.gov.uk . You will be required to create an account with a valid UK address before you apply.
A recent photograph of the pupil and their passport number will be required to verify their age. If the pupil does not have a valid passport TfL will provide you with a verification letter, which you will need to download, print and take to a London Post Office along with an appropriate proof of age (birth certificate, passport, European Economic Area ID card or a biometric residency permit). If the young person does not have any form of identification, their identity can be verified by the school which would need to stamp and sign the verification letter before it is submitted at a London Post Office.
If you have any questions, contact the Oyster Helpdesk on 0845 330 9876.
Personal transport budget
Where the pupil is eligible for travel assistance and the parents or carers can provide the support necessary, the council may consider paying them a personal transport budget (PTB) to help with the necessary arrangements.
The PTB will be individual to each child or young person, to offer them more choice and control over the support they receive. The current rate is paid at 60 pence per mile from the home address to school (four journeys for each day attended).
Instead of having to work around one mode of transport the PTB will allow you to choose support that best suits your child’s needs. For example you can use the PTB to:
- drive the young person to school
- buy a travel pass for a parent or trusted escort
- pay for an escort or travel buddy service
- contribute costs to transport shared with other parents
- purchase childcare for siblings whilst you accompany the child to school
The entitlement is normally paid in advance on a monthly basis and will not affect the parent’s, carer’s or young person’s benefit entitlement. To ensure the young person’s needs are being met, the council will monitor the child’s attendance and punctuality at their school.
Transport arranged by council
Whilst for a large number of pupils getting to school independently or with the help of a parent or carer will be a safe and reasonable experience, a small number of children with complex needs will be offered travel assistance arranged by the council.
When arranging travel, suitability and safety of the routes available will be our priority. The arrangements may include school busses or taxis and will take escort requirements into consideration.
How to apply
If you fulfil all the eligibility criteria then apply online:
Alternatively you can download the application form as a word document (DOCX, 81 KB). Make sure you apply before 20 April 2023 if you require transport assistance in place for the start of September term.
Upon receipt if your completed application form, we may request the following:
- a medical statement or letter from the child’s GP to provide evidence that the child cannot travel independently
- the most recent copy of your tax credits award notice from HMRC (including part 2) if you are in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax credits
- name of the child’s allocated social worker if the child is looked after by the local authority
- evidence of parent’s disability, such as a letter from a GP, if relevant to child’s travel needs
- evidence that child requires a passenger assistant, such as documentation from the child’s school or from a medical professional, if you indicate that an assistant is required
Send the documentation and completed form (if not applying online) to:
The transport eligibility team: email@example.com
By submitting the application form you agree to our code of conduct and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
You can download a full copy of our code of conduct from the downloads section below.
We expect all children to treat the bus driver and their fellow passengers with respect and listen to the drivers and escorts. Children are responsible for looking after their possessions and the vehicles (parents or carers will have to pay for any damage inflicted), and are requested to take any litter home with them. If you see someone behaving badly or bullying others always report it to the driver or your school.
All incidents that occur on the transport will be investigated. Where your child is involved, the passenger transport team and the school concerned will work with you with the aim of resolving the issue. For minor issues we will schedule a discussion with you to find a solution agreeable to all parties. For serious issues that cause a risk to the health and safety of your child or others, your child will be immediately suspended from transport for the duration of our investigation and you will be responsible for your child’s transport to and from school.
Examples of unacceptable behaviours that will result in suspension:
- physical violence towards staff and other passengers
- not remaining seated and wearing the appropriate seat belt
- distracting the driver (except in emergencies)
- bringing weapons (real or replica), knives, drugs or alcohol onto the vehicle
- exiting the vehicle at any point during the journey that is not the agreed drop off point
- failing to follow the requests or instructions of the escort or driver
- smoking (this is illegal on all vehicles
- eating and drinking
- shouting or swearing
- throwing things
- behaviour that causes distress to other passengers
- malicious damage to the vehicle
We expect parents/ carers to have the child ready for collection at the specified time. Transport providers have been instructed to wait no more than 3 minutes. If your child misses the transport, you are responsible for ensuring that your child goes to school. If your child is unwell or is sent home at any other time than the regular time you must make your own arrangements for their transport home.
Make sure someone is at home to receive the child, if no one is at home and we cannot contact you, the child will be taken to a place of safety and social services will be informed. It will be your responsibility to collect your child from them.
Our General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) policy
The personal information contained within the application for travel assistance form is provided in order to arrange travel assistance for your child. We will keep information about you and your child and the services we provide for you on your record. In line with common practice, this data will be retained for 35 years following closure of records.
We have a duty to protect the information you have provided to us and ensure it is kept confidentially. The information may be stored securely, both on paper and electronically, and will only be shared for purposes relating to travel assistance for example with schools, colleges, contractors and communication based systems such as ‘Teachers to Parents’. The purpose of this data sharing is to enable Croydon Council to fulfil its statutory duty to provide travel assistance to eligible students. It will not be shared further with anyone else without your knowledge, unless we are required to do so by law.
By submitting your application for travel assistance you are giving us permission to share the information contained supplied in the application form for the purposes of considering and arranging your request for travel assistance.
After you apply
We will review your application and contact you within 20 working days to let you know whether travel assistance is suitable for the young person. If the application is approved, a personalised travel plan coordinator will make arrangements to meet and discuss travel options.
There is an appeal process if your child does not qualify for travel assistance or you do not agree with the proposed arrangement. For further details on the appeals process see the travel assistance policy in the downloads section at the foot of this page.
Home to School Travel Application Form 2023 (DOCX, 81KB)
Home to school or college transport appeal form (DOC, 64KB)
Travel Assistance Policy 5-16 2022 (PDF, 236KB)
Travel Assistance Code of Conduct (PDF, 258)