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Education and SEND

SEND help in education

Help is available so that children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) can achieve their best in education.

This includes:

Support to help children and young people with SEND learn

All providers of mainstream education must support children and young people with SEND and help them to learn.

Mainstream education providers include:

  • early years settings such as nurseries or preschools
  • schools
  • providers of further education such as colleges

The help children and young people with SEND get from mainstream education providers is called special educational needs (SEN) support.

SEN support

Most children and young people with SEND get all the help they need from their education provider through SEN support.

To provide SEN support, education providers are given funds by the council and Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The SEN support they provide using these funds is known as ordinarily available provision.

Our aim is that all education providers in Buckinghamshire will give the same level of support to children and young people with SEND.

Education providers may also work with other SEND support services to give children and young people any additional help they need to learn.

Graduated approach

SEN support follows a graduated approach to help children and young people with SEND.

Using this approach, parents or carers – along with the child or young person themselves – work with an education provider to:

  • assess the needs of a child or young person
  • make a plan for how these needs will be met
  • do what is in the plan
  • review the support given to see if it was effective and if anything needs to change

The 4 stages of the SEN support graduated approach are:

If a child or young person goes through the 4 stage process and meets the intended outcomes, the education provider may make changes to the plan to make sure they continue to make progress.

If all outcomes are met, the education provider may decide that a SEN support plan is no longer needed to make progress.

If a child or young person has not made enough progress, the education provider will adjust the plan’s outcomes and actions to help them improve.

Repeating this 4 step process will allow the education provider to understand how a child or young person is developing, and make changes to help them over time.

Full guidance on the Graduated Approach can be found on Schoolsweb.

Education, health and care (EHC) plans

If a child or young person does not make progress following cycles of assess, plan, do and review, they may need more support.

If this is the case, an education provider may talk to parents, carers or the young person themselves about ways to get more support.

This may be through asking for an education, health and care needs assessment

In some cases, this may lead to the creation of an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

SEND school transport

Children and young people with SEND may get free or discounted transport to and from their education provider.

Contact our transport team if you need help or want to check your eligibility for free or discounted transport.

For common questions, you can visit our frequently asked questions.

Children aged 5 to 16

Free school transport may be available if a child is between 5 and 16 years old (of statutory school age), and

  • going to their nearest suitable school and
  • living further away from their school than the legal walking distance (that is, 2 miles for pupils under 8, or 3 miles for pupils aged 8 to 16)
  • unable to walk to school because of their SEND
  • unable to walk to school because there is no safe walking route

Read about funded school transport, and the support children can get for travel to primary, secondary or grammar schools.

Personal transport budgets

Students of all ages with SEND who are eligible for transport are able to apply for a Personal Transport Budget, instead of travelling on Council organised transport.

This is awarded at the discretion of the Council and is a sum of money paid to the family, giving them the freedom and flexibility to make their own travel arrangements rather than travelling on Council organised transport.

Personal Transport Budgets replace mileage allowances. There may be exceptional circumstances where a mileage allowance could be offered on a temporary basis. For example, where the parent or carer takes the child to school or college while waiting for Council transport to be organised.

Read more about Personal Transport Budgets rather than travelling on Council organised transport.

Young people aged 16 to 19

Young people with SEND aged between 16 and 19 may be able to get:

  • a personal transport budget which allows families to arrange transport for the student
  • transport arranged by the Council for an annual fee to school or college, and travel help for their SEND
  • special equipment if necessary
  • a travel pass for a school bus or public transport

To get this, a young person must not be able to travel to and from school or college by themselves because they:

  • cannot get public transport that meets their SEND needs
  • have SEND or problems with mobility

To get help with transport, a young person must:

  • live in Buckinghamshire
  • be under 19 years old, or have started school or a college course before their 19th birthday
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan, which names the school or college they go to
  • live more than 3 miles from their school or college, or cannot walk there because of their SEND
  • go to the school or college nearest their home that offers the full-time course or work placement they want to take

Read more in section 5 of the Post-16 Transport Policy Statement 2021 to 2022

Young people aged 19 to 25 with an EHC plan

Young people with SEND aged between 19 and 25, and who have an EHC plan, may get free transport to and from their education provider.

To get this, a young person must:

  • live in Buckinghamshire
  • not be able to use public transport by themselves because of their SEND

The young person must also be going to a college that:

  • allows them to meet the intended outcomes of their EHC plan
  • is more than 3 miles away from their home, or under 3 miles if they cannot use public transport because of their SEND, or the route is unsafe

Parents, carers and young people with an EHC plan can find out if they qualify for free 19 to 25 transport for education by speaking to their social worker.

More details can be found in section 9 of the Post-16 Transport Policy Statement 2021 to 2022.

Young people aged 19 to 25 without an EHC plan

If a young person with SEND does not have an EHC plan, we may be able to pay some money towards their travel to and from their education provider.

To get this, they will need an assessment as part of the Care Act 2014.

Read more in section 9 of the Post-16 Transport Policy Statement 2021 to 2022.

Parents, carers and young people without an EHC plan should email the Community Reablement Team if they have questions about free 19 to 25 transport for education.

Other help with transport

Other discounted transport options for young people with SEND include:

Student fares, passes and travel cards

Most bus and rail services in the local area have special rates for students. You should contact the travel operator for more details.

Travel help from colleges

Some local colleges help students over the age of 16 to get cheaper travel to school or college.

Read more in section 4.2 of the Post-16 Transport Policy Statement 2021 to 2022.

16 to 19 Bursary Fund

Young people with SEND aged between 16 and 19 can apply for financial support from the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund.

This will give the most vulnerable groups up to £1,200 a year, which can be used to pay for transport to an education provider.

Parents, carers or young people with SEND aged 16 to 19 should speak to their education provider's SENCO, class teacher or headteacher to find out more.

Discretionary bursary

Some local colleges will help young people with SEND if they are having money problems that could stop them from staying in education.

This funding is managed locally and schools and other educational settings can award this funding to any student who is facing genuine financial barriers to participation. To find out if you are eligible for a discretionary bursary please contact your school or educational setting.

Read more in section 6.4 of the Post-16 Transport Policy Statement 2021 to 2022

Independent travel training

We work with schools and colleges to help young people with SEND get independent travel training.

Travel training helps young people with SEND become more independent and catch public transport by themselves.

This may include transport to and from school or college.

Read more in section 7 of the Post-16 Transport Policy Statement 2021 to 2022.

Parents, carers and young people with SEND should check with their education provider, as they may already offer independent travel training.

Independent travel training is also available from Talkback as part of its personal development and skills programme.

SEND support and funding for education providers