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School Travel Review Process

Introduction

If you have received a letter informing you that your child has not been awarded free home to school travel and you disagree with the assessment made, you can exercise your right to a review by completing and returning the downloadable form.

There are three principal grounds for a review:

  • that the walking distance from home to school has been incorrectly measured.
  • that the walking route is unavailable due to highway conditions.
  • there may be other reasons why you feel your child should be treated as an exceptional case.

This page provides further guidance which you should read before submitting a request for a review

Grounds for a review

1. Review on grounds that the walking distance between home and school has been incorrectly measured.

Your child has been refused free travel on the grounds that the distance between your home and the school is less than the “statutory walking distance” – 2 miles for a child under the age of 8 years, and 3 miles for children age 8 – 16 years.

The distance is as follows for children who are entitled to free school meals, or whose parents are in receipt of maximum level Working Tax Credit:

  • Age 8 – 11 years. Distance is lowered to 2 miles if they are attending the county council catchment school for their home address
  • Age 11 – 16 years. May qualify for free travel if they attend one of the nearest 3 qualifying schools (catchment or preferred) between 2 – 6 miles from their home address.

Low income awards are reviewed annually prior to the start of a new academic year. Minimum statutory walking distances are measured by using the nearest available walking route. Distances above that are measured by using the nearest route accessible by vehicle.

The distance has been measured using a combination of previous measurements in the area, local knowledge and a computer based measurement system.

If you believe that the distance has been incorrectly measured, please bear in mind that it may include footpaths and other rights of way which might make the route shorter than by road. If you request a review, the route will be re-measured. In some cases this may mean the route will need to be walked with a mechanical wheel which gives a very accurate distance measurement. We will of course inform you of the route we have identified.

2. Review on the grounds that the measured walking route is unavailable for use.

Local Education Authorities are obliged to provide free travel for a child if the walking route between their home and school is "unavailable" due to highway conditions. This is assessed against a national set of factors. The law makes it clear that such assessments should assume that the child is accompanied, as necessary, by a responsible adult.

If you consider that the route is not available you are entitled to a review. The route, and any alternative routes, will then be assessed against the criteria noted in Appendix 1 of this document. The assessment will always bear in mind that a responsible adult can be expected to accompany the child. Please note that even if the shortest route is assessed as not available, there may still be alternatives which are, and remain under the distance limit. Again, we will inform you of the route we consider to be available if this is the result of an assessment.

3. Review on grounds that there are other specific reasons why free travel should be granted due to exceptional circumstances.

The County Council will consider the award of free travel to children not normally entitled to it where there are individual exceptional circumstances. These may be health related, a move of address at a certain stage in school life, behavioural issues, family matters etc.

An officer of the County Council will assess each case on its individual merits, and make a decision on whether there is a justification in that case. Because each case is unique, the reason for the review should be explained as fully as possible to assist investigation. If the review request is on medical grounds parents will be required to provide medical evidence in the form of a doctor’s letter to support their application.

What happens when I request a review?

Where the initial application has been made directly to SEND Policy and Provision, the review should be requested from the SEND Officer.

All other appeals should be requested using a school travel review form [PDF].

Your request will be assessed by the Transport Policy Coordinator in Children, Families and Cultural Services. The review will be assessed as quickly as possible but some cases may require detailed investigation which could take longer to complete.

The decision will be sent in writing, to your home address.

If it is decided that your child should receive transport assistance, this will be backdated to the start of the academic year in which the application was made or to the date of receipt of the appeal, whichever is later.

If your review is not successful you can request that the case is further reviewed by the Children, Families and Cultural Services Transport Review Panel.

There is no further right of appeal within Nottinghamshire County Council against this decision.

If you are not happy with the way in which the review has been conducted, you may complain to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO). It should be noted that the LGO cannot change the final decision, but can investigate any perceived maladministration within the review process.


How should I submit my request for a review?

If, having read these notes you wish to submit a request for a review, then you can download the school travel review form [PDF] print it out; complete the relevant part and send it to:

Transport and Travel Services

Nottinghamshire County Council

TBH

County Hall

West Bridgford

Nottingham

NG2 7QP

Alternatively, the completed form may be faxed to 0115 9773900. If your review includes information of a sensitive nature please post it to the above address and mark the envelope "Review - Private and Confidential".

Appendix 1

Criteria used to determine availability of home to school walking routes

Route assessment summary

Assessment of Walked Routes

For a route to be classified as non-hazardous there needs to be:

Both A
  • A continuous adequate footway on roads which carry normal to heavy traffic
  • or Steps-offs on roads which are lightly trafficked but have adequate sight lines to provide sufficient advance warning
  • or on roads with a low traffic flow, no step-offs, but sufficiently good sight lines to provide adequate advance warning.
and B

If there is a need to cross roads there must be:

  • Crossing facilities (Zebra or Pelican crossings)
  • Pedestrian phases at traffic signals  (including necessary refuges)
  • School Crossing Patrols
  • Traffic calming (sufficient to enable safe road crossing)
  • Pedestrian refuges
  • or Sufficient gaps in the traffic flow and sight lines to allow enough opportunities to cross safely.

If a crossing manoeuvre is required on the route, the available visibility at the location should allow for a vehicle to stop given the 85th percentile speed of the flow of traffic and the stopping distances required for vehicles as stated in the Highway Code.

*Note:

In many rural areas, the exercise of continuous judgement is likely to be required. No criteria can provide all the guidance or answers to every situation which may be encountered.

Road crossing assessment
Traffic Counts**

(i) It is recommended that the traffic counts be recorded as ‘passenger car’ equivalent values (PCU’s), by using the following multiplication factors:

Passenger Car Units (PCU’s) For Recording Purposes

3 Pedal Cycles=    1 PCU

2 Motorcycles=    1 PCU

1 Car=    1 PCU

1 Light Goods Vehicle=    1 PCU (up to 3.5 tonnes gross weight)

1 Bus/Coach=    2 PCU (over 3.5 tonnes gross weight)

1 Medium Goods Vehicle=    2 PCU (over 3.5 tonnes gross weight)

1 Larger/Heavy Goods Vehicle=    2 PCU (over 7.5 tonnes gross weight/multi axle lorries)

If an automatic vehicle counter is used that does not provide vehicle classification data, then some observation of the traffic flow and vehicle composition will be required.

(ii) Where the two-way [one-way on dual carriageways] traffic flow is below 240 vehicles per hour the road is assessed as safe to cross.

**Note:

‘Traffic Counts’ 240 vehicles per hour is based on the original "County Road Safety Officers Association" criteria and is equivalent to one vehicle every 15 seconds, which allows for a reasonable gap time to cross a road 7 meters wide (using 3 feet per second as the walking speed).

On many rural roads it will be necessary to cross roads to enable improved sight lines to be gained so that sufficient time is available to judge when to ‘step-off’ or to stop and allow traffic to pass.

All vehicle counts are two-way except on one-way systems (central reservations are deemed to create one-way systems).

The exercise of judgement will be needed to assess the relative risk of passing an obstacle such as a narrow bridge. The gap criteria may prove useful and assist in this type of situation.

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