Parents of children with special educational needs or disabilities who are changing school in September or who have had a new Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) issued since March are being urged to apply for school transport without delay according to Kent County Council (KCC).
The county council provides free school transport for eligible children and young people with special educational needs.
But last week a KCC spokesperson stressed that as not all pupils are eligible for free school transport it is important for parents to understand whether their child meets KCC’s criteria for support or whether they may need to make their own arrangements.
KCC’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Shellina Prendergast, said: “We know that many parents of children who have special educational needs and disabilities need time to plan any changes to their child’s routine, especially when they are using new transport.
“We have written directly to parents to give them details about how to apply so that we can get transport organised for the start of school in September.”
She added: “We also made some changes earlier this year to simplify our mainstream transport applications so that we could free up capacity during the busy summer months to deal with SEND transport applications.
“Although we have received many applications so far, there are still some parents who have yet to apply.”
Parents can apply online at kent.gov.uk following the education-and-children/schools tab.
“It usually takes approximately six weeks for KCC to process applications, so any further delays in parents applying will mean that transport cannot be guaranteed to be in place by September,” stressed the KCC spokesperson.
If a child has SEND (special educational needs and disability) and attends a mainstream or special school, and already receives free school transport, parents will not usually need to reapply unless their child moves to a new school or when they move from Year 6 to Year 7.
Full details of the eligibility criteria and how to apply are available on KCC’s website.