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Transport Policy Statement for Students Aged 16-19 in Further Education - Full Policy

Updated May 2022
 

Background

This policy has been developed to meet its statutory requirements, in respect of transport arrangements for Tameside resident 16-19 year olds in full time, continuing education.
 
This document has been drawn up using contributions from, and in discussion with, a range of partners, as follows: -
 

  • Tameside Council’s Inclusion Team and Social Care Service.
  • Tameside Council’s Finance Team.
  • Representatives from all Tameside colleges and post-16 schools.
  • Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)
  • Young people of sixth form age and their parents
  • The range of support available to students, as set out in the remaining sections of this document is provided through the partners.

 Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the detail contained in this document, the partners reserve the right to modify the detailed arrangements over the life of this policy. Provision of transport to students is subject to a range of external legislative and economic factors outside the control of the partners. Any changes that are made during the life of this policy will be subject to consultation, as set out in the Greater Manchester Local Transport Plan.
 
In line with the legislation, this policy is primarily aimed at full-time students aged 16-18 inclusive, with support continuing to the end of the course, where the course started before the student reached the age of 19. In this context, full-time is where the student undertakes more than 12 guided learning hours per week. This definition is the same as for child benefit eligibility.
 
However, subject to the terms and conditions used by the partners, some of the benefits set out below are also available to part-time students and to students aged 19+. Students should refer to the detail contained in the remainder of this document.
 
Financial support through the Learner Support Funds and transport funded through the Council’s Children's Service are exclusively for Tameside residents. All other benefits set out below are available to students studying at post-16 schools and colleges in Tameside, subject to the terms and conditions of each scheme (e.g. UK residence and means-testing requirements).
 
This policy relates to provision planned for the academic year 202/23, from September 2022 to August 2023.
 

Overview of Current Transport Provision

Tameside students are well served by reasonably priced and accessible public transport. Tameside has four rail links through the Borough: -
  • Mossley – Stalybridge – Ashton-under-Lyne – Manchester (local service).
  • Huddersfield - Stalybridge – Manchester (express regional service)
  • Broadbottom – Hattersley – Hyde (Godley, Newton and Flowery Field) – Audenshaw (Guide Bridge) – Droylsden (Fairfield) – Manchester (local service).
  • Hyde (Central and North) – Audenshaw (Guide Bridge) - Droylsden (Fairfield) – Manchester (local service).
These routes are convenient for students travelling from the Hattersley, Mottram and Longdendale areas to students wishing to study at colleges in neighbouring areas (e.g. Manchester, Salford and Marple) and at specialist colleges further afield (e.g. Huddersfield).
 
Ashton Sixth Form College and the Ashton Campus of Tameside College have numerous bus services that stop near to the colleges. Both colleges are also relatively near the centre of Ashton-under-Lyne and the Ashton Transport Interchange and are accessible on foot from the town centre.
 
In addition to rail services, Tameside students wishing to study in neighbouring areas are served by frequent bus services to Manchester, Oldham and Stockport.  The Metrolink tram service operates from Ashton u Lyne through Droylsden and into Manchester city centre.
 
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) offers a range of fare concessions that are available for students. There is also a range of tickets to allow mixed modes of transport, using bus, rail and the Metrolink tram system. Fare concessions are available throughout Greater Manchester, making it possible for students to travel across local authority boundaries to travel to colleges in neighbouring local authority areas.
 
Students with special transport needs are considered a priority for the partners in this policy. The Council may fund the provision of transport for students who need it, in conjunction with colleges and providers. Wherever possible, however, efforts are made to provide students with the support they need to travel independently and use the public transport that is available. This is considered an important part of providing young people with the independence they will need after leaving school/college and will continue to be a primary use of the transport partnership funding provided by the local authority during the 2022/23 academic year. All post 16 institutions independently operate their own bursary schemes, and applications made be made to them at any time.
 

Monitoring and Review

The Council may review this policy at any time but will always consult with interested parties if it is proposing changes that affect eligibility.
 

Our Pass

Our Pass is a membership scheme for young people who live in Greater Manchester, and supports both school leavers and care leavers. All the information you need can be found here https://ourpass.co.uk/about-our-pass/
 
Those eligible have the chance to become a member – and potentially enjoy two things:
 
First, free bus travel across Greater Manchester. For a one-off £10 fee, members can travel on most local buses, any day of the week, for free. No hassle, no fuss, no tickets: just a card that will get you where you want to go. Members can also get half-price off-peak 1 day and weekend travelcards on Metrolink.
 
Second, membership unlocks exclusive offers and experiences: discounts, special offers, free tickets, swimming and leisure passes, merchandise, career taster days and much more.
 
Depending on age and eligibility, members may be able to enjoy free bus travel or exclusive offers, or both, until the end of the pilot project in September 2023.

 
Who is Our Pass for?
 
Our Pass is for eligible young people* who live in Greater Manchester. The travel pass can be used for up to two years, starting from 1 September after your 16th birthday, until 31 August after your 18th birthday (or until your 18th birthday, if this is 31 August). Members can continue to use their igo card until they become eligible for Our Pass (igo cards expire on 31 August after their 16th birthday). If you’re not sure if you live in Greater Manchester, use the Government’s find your local council tool to check if you live in one of the following 10 local council areas:
 
Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council
Manchester City Council
Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Salford City Council
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council
Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council
*subject to eligibility

 
Five things you need before you apply
 
1. An email address. Used to send updates on applications and set up Our Pass accounts.
 
2. A passport style photo to upload.
 
3. Proof of your date of birth.
 
4. Proof that you live in Greater Manchester.
 
5. A way to pay. There is a £10 administration charge, and so you’ll need a valid payment card
 

Additional Support from School and College Learner Support Funds/
  • Tameside post-16 schools, colleges and training providers consider applications for additional financial support from their Learner Support Fund or bursary schemes, in cases where: -
  • Students are required to make several bus journeys to reach school/college, because of where they live.
  • Students are in financial difficulty, but are ineligible for the 16-19 Bursary Fund (e.g. Asylum Seekers).
  • Students have a short-term medical condition requiring special transport arrangements.
 
16-19 Bursary Fund
 
The 16-19 Bursary Fund is designed to help support those young people who face the greatest barriers to continuing in education or training post-16. If you’re aged between 16 and 19 years, and think you might struggle with the costs for full-time education or training, you may be eligible for a bursary. This can be used to support transport costs. Students in the following groups may receive the maximum bursary of £1,200 a year:
  • young people in care
  • care leavers
  • young people claiming Income Support or Universal Credit in their own name
  • disabled young people who receive both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment in their own name To receive the maximum bursary your course must last for 30 weeks or more. If your course is shorter than 30 weeks, you may receive less.
Other students facing genuine financial difficulties may be awarded a bursary at the discretion of their school, college or training provider. Unlike the EMA, schools, colleges and training providers will be responsible for awarding bursaries to students. With the exception of the £1,200 bursaries for students most in need, they decide on the amount.
 
Discretionary Learner Support
 
The Discretionary Learner Support is available in colleges and school sixth forms to help with learning costs if you are aged 19 or over. The funds are prioritised for those who face financial hardship. They can be used to help with:
  • Financial hardship and emergencies
  • Childcare costs (for Ofsted-registered childcare)
  • Accommodation costs, for those who wish to access specialist courses or who are unable to access courses locally
  • Essential course-related equipment, materials and field trips
  • Travel costs
Colleges and sixth forms will take into account whether there are alternative sources to help available.
 
To be eligible to apply, you must:
  • be 19 or over
  • have been accepted onto and be studying a programme of learning funded by the Skills Funding Agency
Colleges determine priority groups and maximum amounts they award. The focus of funds are for financially disadvantaged people aged 19 or over, who need support in areas such as childcare, transport, books and equipment. You have to apply directly to your college or learning provider. Each college or learning provider has its own application process. You should speak to your tutor, student support or welfare officer. For further information visit https://www.gov.uk/discretionary-learner-support

 
Details of the schemes at all of Tameside’s post 16 providers can be found on tyheir websites using the following links:
 
Tameside College / Clarendon Sixth Form College Bursary https://www.tameside.ac.uk/Pages/Adults/funding_your_studies
 
Ashton Sixth Form College
https://www.asfc.ac.uk/bursary
 
Laurus Ryecroft Sixth Form
https://www.laurusryecroft.org.uk/financial-support/
 
 
Apprenticeships and Traineeships
 
Learning providers are responsible for ensuring that non-employed programme led Apprentices have reasonable expenses met in full where these are needed to overcome barriers to learning. These may include the cost of travelling to or from the place of learning or work placement. Employers and learning providers should take account of learners’ likely transport arrangements when planning off-the-job training, particularly outside normal working hours. The costs of expenses for learners can be claimed by learning providers against the Additional Learner Support allocation on the Training Provider Statement.

 
Provision for pupils with SEND
 
Tameside Council makes special provision for Tameside residents with disabilities and/or learning difficulties. This is set out in detail as part of the wider Tameside Council Transport Policy. In summary, current provision is as follows: -.
 
  • The Council’s Special Educational Needs Service will consider funding special transport that may be required to attend a further education course for those students with disabilities or learning difficulties aged 16 -18 years inclusive with support continuing until the completion of the course where the course started before the student reached the age of 19.
  • Important: students who are assessed as potentially capable of independent travel are provided with mobility or independence training to assist them to benefit from the free travel available.
  • Students with special educational needs, who are educated in other Tameside post-16 institutions, or outside Tameside, may be provided with transport organised by Special Educational Needs Service. This varies from the provision of escorted rail travel for students educated in residential establishments, to the provision of taxis for students attending colleges in neighbouring authorities, where the specific course could not be offered in Tameside. An assessment is made, based on the needs of the individual. Students may be offered travel training as home to school transport support as they are encouraged to be independent and use public transport, where they are assessed as potentially capable of independent travel.
 
For further information, students can make contact with the Council’s Special Educational Needs Service.
 
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) offer the following services for learners with SEND: -
  • All disabled people can travel for free between 9.30am and 11pm Monday to Friday, and all day at weekends and bank holidays, on local buses anywhere in England as part of the National Concessionary Bus Travel arrangements introduced in April 2008. For residents of Greater Manchester, this is extended to travel on trains, and Metrolink trams in Greater Manchester. If you qualify TfGM will give you a concessionary travel permit.
  • Some disabled people can travel for free at all times. If you qualify, TfGM will give you a “Concession Plus” pass.  More details can be found on the TfGM website Travel pass for disabled people | Transport for Greater Manchester (tfgm.com)
  • If you are registered blind or have serious walking difficulties and cannot use ordinary buses, you may be able to get travel vouchers. You can use these to pay for taxis and door-to-door services, like Ring and Ride and Local Link.
  • To apply for a free travel pass you will need to download and complete and application form 17-1223_TfGM_ENCTP_Walking_Diff_or_RDL_Application_Form_WEB.pdf (ctfassets.net), and return it to:
    • Travel Concessions
  • Customer Services
    PO Box 429
    Manchester
    M60 1HX
 
Ring and Ride
           
Ring and Ride is a door-to-door public transport service for people who find it difficult or impossible to use ordinary buses.  Ring and Ride provides short local trips that must be booked a day in advance.  It is not possible to make a regular (e.g. daily) booking.  GMPTE concessionary passes and permits are accepted.  With a Concessionary Plus pass travel is £1.10 per journey. With a Concessionary Disabled Pass travel pass you pay £1.60.
           
Ring and Ride buses are small enough to go down almost any road and have been specially designed to be accessible to everyone.  They have low entrance steps, lifts or ramps and wheelchair securing devices.
           
Ring and Ride operates seven days a week: 8am to 10.45pm Mondays to Saturdays and on Sunday from 8am to 10.25pm.  Further information can be found on the TfGM website or by contacting the customer contact centre on 0161 200 6011
           
In areas where there are very limited bus services, Ring and Ride support local link services which are door to door public transport services. You can use your national travel pass to travel at a reduced fare of £1.30 per journey.
 
 
Help for students who need to travel to a course outside Tameside
 
  • TfGM Bus Cards and Permits are available to all students for travel throughout Greater Manchester. A detailed map of routes covered is contained in leaflets available from TfGM or on their website: Transport for Greater Manchester website Link to External Website.
  • Specialist Courses outside Greater Manchester are likely to be better served by students attending as “resident” students (e.g. Residential Agricultural Colleges). Such specialist colleges are able to offer a greater level of support from their Learner Support Funds, or through the system of Residential Learner Support Funds run in conjunction with the Learning and Skills Council.
 
Help for students who attend a further education institution, which is beyond daily travelling distance
  • Special Educational Needs: students with special educational needs who have been recommended to study at a residential establishment can be provided with escorted rail travel at the start and end of each term if this is necessary. Further details contained in Section 6.
  • 16-19 Bursary Fund: Students aged 16-19 can apply directly to Colleges to help with the costs of learning. Support is based on the level of household income. Further information is available from the Department for Education website: https://www.gov.uk/1619-bursary-fund/overview
 
To apply for assistance with home to school transport, please contact the Integrated Transport Unit
 
Tameside ITU
Tame Street
Stalybridge
Cheshire
SK15 1ST

0161 342 3205 / 3691 / 2717 / 2871
itu@tameside.gov.uk

 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
https://www.routeyou.com/en-gb/route/planner/2/walking-route-planner: The walking route planner - get a route map between any two points. It’s quick, free, healthy and green.
 
https://beeactive.tfgm.com/cycling/: Whether you’re new to cycling or simply want some new routes to explore, this website is for you. We’ll help you get started, choose the right bike, join in local cycling event and even plan your next ride.
 
Some Special Bus Services are provided for residents to travel to Tameside post-16 schools and colleges from certain parts of the Tameside MBC area. These are under constant review; please refer to the TfGM web site for up-to-date information.
 
Useful Web Sites

Home to school transport appeals
 
If you have been unsuccessful in your application for home to school transport funding or consider that the travel arrangements are unsuitable you have a right to request a review of the decision
 
How can I appeal?
 
There is a two stage process for considering appeals following the decision to refuse to support home to school transport costs for a pupil.
 

Stage one: Review by a senior officer

A parent has 20 working days from receipt of the local authority’s home to school transport decision to make a written request asking for a review of the decision. The address you need to write to will be in the letter you were sent informing you of the decision and is different depending on the type of transport support you have applied for.

Your written request should detail why you believe the decision should be reviewed and give details of any personal and/or family circumstances you believe should be considered when the decision is reviewed. You should also submit a copy of any documentation that you wish to rely on in support of your review request. This can include:

• A letter from your GP if appeal is based on any medical condition

• A letter from your employer or work placement provider if your appeal is based on availability of parent

• Any other evidence that you feel may assist your case.

In making a decision the reviewing officer will consider all information submitted and the relevant government guidance and council policy.

Within 20 working days of receipt of your written request a senior officer will review the original decision and send you a detailed written notification of the outcome of their review.

This will set out:

• the nature of the decision reached;

• how the review was conducted

• information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted as part of the process;

• what factors were considered;

• the rationale for the decision reached; and

• information about how you can escalate your case to stage two (if appropriate).

 

Stage two: Review by an independent appeal panel

If a parent is dissatisfied with the outcome of a stage 1 review, a parent has 20 working days from receipt of the local authority’s stage one written decision notification to make a written request to escalate the matter to stage two. Details of who to write to lodge a Stage 2 appeal will be contained within your stage 1 notification letter. A parent cannot ask for an independent panel to review their case without having been through Stage 1 first.

Within 40 working days of receipt of your request an independent appeal panel considers written and verbal representations from both the parent and officers involved in the case and gives a detailed written notification of the outcome (within 5 working days), setting out:

• the nature of the decision reached;

• how the review was conducted

• information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted as part of the process;

• what factors were considered;

• the rationale for the decision reached; and

• information about the parent’s right to put the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman (see below).

What information should I provide for my appeal?

Any written evidence that you wish to use to support your case should be submitted to the appeal panel in good time for the hearing. It is important that you tell the Appeal Panel all the reasons why you believe they should be allocated support for home to school transport. If you have any documentary evidence to support your appeal, e.g. medical evidence or evidence of a house move, please send a copy with your review request.

What happens next?

The date of your Stage 2 appeal will be arranged by an officer of the Democratic Services Unit, who will give you at least 10 days’ notice in writing of the date of your appeal. You will be sent a copy of the Council’s statement for refusal, together with your appeal statement and any other papers, 7 working days before the appeal, unless you have agreed to a shorter period than this. The statement for refusal will summarise why it has not been possible to provide support with home to school transport.

The Stage 2 Appeal Hearing

Who will consider my appeal and what do they do?

The appeal panel will normally be made up of 3 members. It will include at least one person who has experience of education and at least one lay member who has no experience of education provision or management. Neither councillors nor staff from the Council will be on the panel.

Who else will be at the appeal hearing?

As well as the panel members, a clerk will take notes of the hearing and offer advice to the panel on points of law and procedural matters. The clerk will take no part in the decision-making process. A representative of the Council will attend to explain why support with home to school transport has been refused. If you attend the appeal, this person will only be present with the appeal panel when you are present.

 

Do I have to attend?

Although you do not have to attend the hearing, it is easier to explain your case if you are there in person. Most parents do take up this opportunity, and we would strongly advise you to do so as the panel may have questions for you to help them make an informed decision. If you do not attend, the appeal will be decided on the information available to the panel including the written information you have sent. If you are unable to attend but wish to, you should inform Democratic Services as soon as possible.

Can I take someone to the appeal hearing with me?

Yes you may bring a friend, a relative or a representative. This could be an employee of the local authority such as a social worker, provided there is no conflict of interest.

What if I have a special need or a disability?

Please let Democratic Services know as soon as possible if you have any special requirements or needs, for example if you are hearing impaired and need a hearing loop or signer.

What happens if English is not my first language and I need an interpreter?

If you will need an interpreter at your appeal, please tell Democratic Services which language you require. Alternatively, you may arrange your own interpreter.

What will happen at the hearing?

Certain procedures have to be followed at the hearing to make sure that everyone making an appeal is given a fair chance to present their case.

The Council’s representative explains why your application for home to school transport support has been refused

Everyone has the chance to ask the Council representative questions

You explain why you feel that your child should be offered home to school transport support

Everyone has the chance to ask you questions

The Council representative sums up

You sum up and add anything you may have forgotten

The Decision Making Process

In making its decision the independent panel take into account everything that has been presented in the hearing including relevant government guidance and council policy on this subject.

How will I find out the outcome of my appeal?

The panel will not make a decisions on your appeal immediately and you will be notified in writing of the decision on your appeal, generally within a few working days of the completion of appeals for the particular school. The clerk will be able to tell you when the decision letter will be sent.

The decision letter will set out

• the nature of the decision reached;

• how the review was conducted (ie in accordance with the hearing procedure referred to above)

• information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted as part of the process;

• what factors were considered;

• the rationale for the decision reached; and

• information about the parent’s right to put the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman (see below).


Is the appeal panel’s decision final?

Yes, the decision of the appeal panel is final and binding upon the Council.


Can I appeal again if my appeal is unsuccessful?

There is no automatic right to a second appeal but you can apply for a second appeal within the same school year if the Council agrees that there is a significant change of circumstances or there were faults in the first appeal which significantly affected the outcome.


What if I have a complaint about my appeal?

If you feel that your appeal hearing was not fairly conducted, you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, who will not look at whether the panel’s decision was right or wrong, but whether in undertaking the review procedure was followed correctly. If you consider that the decision of the panel is flawed on public law grounds you may also apply to court for a judicial review of the decision.

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