Royal Borough seeks views on proposed update to School Transport Policy

This image shows a girl at a classroom desk. Consultation: Update to School Transport Policy

The Royal Borough is consulting until Monday 13 May on a proposed change to the way school transport assistance is handed out for young people aged over 16 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Parents, students, schools/colleges and others are invited to comment on a proposed update to the School Transport Policy from September 2024, which would ensure assistance continues to be available for vulnerable students while giving families greater flexibility and choice to make their own travel arrangements.

Post-16 students with SEND are not legally entitled to transport assistance, however in the Royal Borough support is available under the council’s policy for eligible SEND students from low income families. The council will continue to provide transport assistance for this group, and eligibility criteria will stay the same, however the way it is administered is planned to change.

Currently, the council operates a Concessionary Fare Scheme through its children’s services partner, Achieving for Children. Eligible families make a fixed contribution for the year towards a seat on a route contracted by Achieving for Children, whether that be a place on a school bus, or a taxi directly from their door to school/college.

In line with several other councils, the Royal Borough is proposing to replace this scheme with Personal Transport Budgets, ranging from £2,000 to £5,000 per student per year (depending on distance travelled), giving families greater choice to make their own transport arrangements to meet their individual situations.

Some local parents already prefer to use these personal budgets, which can be spent flexibly throughout the year – whether to pay for bus or train passes, buying a bicycle, purchasing or maintaining a vehicle, hiring a taxi, or given to a family member, neighbour or friend to cover costs of transporting the young person.

These may be paid in addition to any bursary funding awarded either through the government scheme or by a college, or any other benefits which can be used towards education transport costs. In addition, all post-16 SEND students will remain eligible for a free public bus pass, with an additional local concession allowing them to travel at any time for education, leisure or work purposes. A free companion pass is also available for anyone who needs support whilst travelling.

Councillor Amy Tisi, Cabinet member for children’s services, education, and Windsor, said: “We’re proud to continue to provide school transport assistance for post-16 children with SEND from low income families. This is an additional, discretionary cost, however we feel it’s important to maintain assistance for this vulnerable group, to help all our young people get the best possible start in life.

“Personal Transport Budgets are being introduced by many councils and, indeed, a number of our local parents specifically request them already because they want that flexibility and choice to make their own arrangements for their own situations.

“This proposal would update a single part of our School Transport Policy, and we want to hear your views before making our decision. We want the policy to be fair to all residents and schools in the borough, whilst ensuring transport assistance can still be provided to our most vulnerable pupils.”

This public consultation runs until noon on Monday 13 May. For further details and to take part, please visit our website, or use the public-access computers available at all local libraries, where staff are happy to help you get online if needed. If you require paper copies of the consultation documents, these are also available from libraries upon request or by contacting