Independent Travel Training

Children travelling on a bus

The service

The Access team are part of the Council’s Children and Young People Directorate. They help children and young people, particularly those with some form of special educational need, travel between home and school.

Why we needed a change

  • Home to school transport for children with a special educational need had traditionally been provided by a fleet of Council owned mini buses.
  • Whilst providing a good quality of service the mini buses were expensive to operate and not as flexible as sometimes required.
  • The Access team listened to the children, young people and their parents and discovered that transport was one of the main problems when attending college, having social outings or getting a job.
  • The Access team needed to find a way that allowed children to travel safely to and from school but also build confidence and independence.

Our solution

  • The Access team designed and implemented an Independent Travel Scheme which helped children and young people learn how to travel using public transport rather than in a specialist minibus.
  • The scheme built independence and confidence, teaching skills that can be used every day.

Difference it made to the Council:

  • The Council were able to cut down on the number of expensive specialist vehicles that they had to maintain.
  • The scheme improved the relationship between Council staff and families.
  • It reduced the Council’s carbon footprint.
  • The team won a national safety award (the Suzy Lamplugh Trust) for the promotion of personal safety throughout an organisation.

Difference it made to local people:

Some of the trainees are now progressing to other independent travel methods, for example, learning to drive.

"It helped me gain more experience and confidence.."

"It’s more grown up…I will keep fit"

"I like travelling with my friends on the buses"

"As parents we were worried….but the travel team were professional and reassuring…when we saw him walking home on his first unaccompanied journey his face was beaming….we knew we had made the right decision"