The Department of Education has recently published the above statutory guidance. The Department makes clear that:
“This means that local authorities must have regard to it [the guidance] when carrying out their duties in developing their transport policy and publishing their transport policy statements for young people of sixth form age and adults aged 19 and over (including those with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan) in education and training”.
It would be fair to say that the law in this area can be a little difficult to get to grips with at first. The Education Act 1996 is the primary statute for children and young persons who have an EHCP in relation to transport, though s508B applies only in relation to ‘eligible children’, who must be of compulsory school age. For person over compulsory school age, rights in relation to transport are not as strong even if they have an EHCp, this is made clear in para 21 of the advice:
Young people with an EHC plan will have an institution named in their plan at Section I. There is no entitlement to transport to and from this named provider and transport should only be named in an EHC plan in exceptional circumstances. Local authorities should ensure during EHC plan discussions that parents are made aware that transport support will be considered in accordance with the local authority’s own post-16 transport policy.
The “transport policy” referred to does not mean a local authority has complete discretion in this area and the guidance makes this clear. In summary, it could be said that, to some degree, the Department of Education is promoting reasonableness to encourage participation in education. Those involved in securing post-16 transport could be well advised when requesting this service to be clear as to why it is ‘necessary’.
The guidance can be found HERE