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

Updated May 2020


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 2020/21, from September 2020 to August 2021.

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 Victoria (local service).
  • Huddersfield - Stalybridge – Manchester Piccadilly (express regional service)
  • Broadbottom – Hattersley – Hyde (Godley, Newton and Flowery Field) – Audenshaw (Guide Bridge) – Droylsden (Fairfield) – Manchester Piccadilly (local service).
  • Hyde (Central and North) – Audenshaw (Guide Bridge) - Droylsden (Fairfield) – Manchester Piccadilly (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 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 the 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 2020/21 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

This is a new bus pass that gives 16-18-year-olds the freedom to travel, work and learn and more information is available here
Our Pass is the new bus pass for 16-18-year-olds. For a one-off £10 administration fee, it unlocks free bus travel right across Greater Manchester – meaning that young people could unlock potential savings of over £500.
  • Our Pass covers all local bus services across Greater Manchester.
  • The card removes the hassle and cost of buying tickets or passes for specific routes and operators.
  • Our Pass can be used seven days a week and has no time restrictions for bus travel. It will not just make getting to school, college, work and training easier, but also going out with friends and exploring Greater Manchester. Discounts for Metrolink off peak and weekend travelcards are also available.

Our Pass is a two year pilot that starts on Sunday 1 September 2019. Led by Mayor Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, with support from Transport from Greater Manchester, it has been developed with the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority and a host of other youth organisations, groups, schools and colleges. It has been designed to support young people at a crucial point in their lives. The potential for making Our Pass permanent will be reviewed over the course of the pilot.
Concessionary Fares operated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)

TfGM Scholars Permit

Students attending a full-time course may be able to obtain the “Scholars Permit” entitling them to reduced fares from their home to their place of full-time study only, as follows:
  • Bus: TfGM Half adult fare
  • Train: Half adult fare
  • Metrolink: Half adult fare

There is an initial fee of £5 to apply for the permit and an additional fee of £5 for replacing a lost permit.
Application forms are available online from; or from a TfGM Travel Shop.
No income assessment is used for TfGM student travel concessions. The only evidence required is likely to be proof of age and/or evidence of enrolment on a full-time course.

Discounted travel tickets

System 1 / get me there Travel Cards: Student Bus Saver Card
Students can obtain one of these cards to entitle them to unlimited travel on any bus throughout Greater Manchester. Currently, the costs are: -
  • Weekly Card: from £14
  • Monthly Card: from £49
Users must hold a System One membership photo card. You can join the travel club at any TfGM Travelshop or on line at The System One Travel Card Registering Page . Membership is free.

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 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

Tameside College Bursary

There are two types of 16 to 19 bursary, Discretionary and Vulnerable:
a) Discretionary Bursary: awarded to meet individual needs, for example, help with the cost of transport, free college meals, books and equipment. To be eligible the student must:

i.          Be aged 16 or over but under 19 at 31 August 2020 or 19 or over and continuing on a study programme they began aged 16 to 18 or have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).
ii.          Meet the residency criteria in ESFA funding regulation for post-16 provision in the 2020 to 2021 academic year.
iii.         Be participating in provision that is subject to inspection by a public body that assures quality (for example OFSTED). The provision must also be either:
  • Funded directly by ESFA or by ESFA via a local authority.
  • Funded or co-financed by the European Social Fund.
  • Otherwise publicly funded and lead to a qualification (up to and including level 3) accredited by OFQUAL or is pursuant to Section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000.
  • A 16 to 19 traineeship programme
iv.        To qualify for the Discretionary Bursary support the student’s gross annual household income must be below £30,000.
v.         Students with a gross annual household income of more than £30,000 can apply for Discretionary Bursary support providing the student can demonstrate they are facing financial hardship. In this instance the College will take into account any extenuating circumstances and a decision will be made.
vi.        An award for discretionary support may be awarded to eligible students where one or more of the following applies:
  • Specific equipment, books and or uniform are needed for the student to attend the course.
  • The student lives 1 mile or more from college and/or work placement and the cost of travel is a barrier to attending college and/or work placement. Google maps are used to assess distance.
  • A curriculum based field trip must be undertaken in order to gain a qualification.
  • The student needs financial support for UCAS application costs and or financial assistance towards a University open day or interview.
  • The student is facing unexpected financial hardship that is creating a barrier to attending College and or learning.
  • The student is taking part in an Industry Placement and incurs an increased demand for further travel to access their placement and/or incur additional participation costs, such as for equipment or clothing.
b) Vulnerable Bursary Vulnerable bursary of up to £1,200 a year for young people in one of the defined vulnerable groups. To be eligible for the vulnerable bursary, students must be in one of the defined vulnerable groups:
i.          In care.
ii.          Care leavers.
iii.         Receiving Income Support.
iv.        Receiving Universal Credit because they are financially supporting themselves or financially supporting themselves and someone who is dependent on them and living with them such as a child or partner.
v.         Receiving Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments in their own right as well as Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit in their own right.
vi.        The maximum bursary is £1200 for those most at risk.
vii.        Pro rata awards will be made to those students who start 6 weeks or later than the start of the course.  Where a student’s circumstances change in-year and a student becomes eligible as a vulnerable learner, they will receive a pro-rata amount.


Ashton Sixth Form College 
16 – 19 bursary.  In order to be entitled to the 16 – 19 bursary, students must meet a range of criteria.  Examples of various categories are:
Category A
Students who are Looked After Children (in care), care leavers; those who are on Income Support or Universal Credit Payment in their own name and those registered as disabled and in receipt of Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance/ Personal Independence Payment.
Category B
Students from households with a gross annual income (inclusive of any benefits / tax credits) of less than £25,000 are likely to be awarded a bursary but students from households where the gross annual income in up to around this figure are welcome to apply.  Students who fall near the threshold are advised to apply as we constantly review the bursary.  We require as evidence your FULL up to date letter from the DWP and P60 confirming annual income and allocation of tax credits.  We require a copy of your latest Council Tax Bill and Housing Benefit statement (if appropriate)
Category C
Students who may or may not be in the above categories but who are experiencing significant financial hardship due to current / changed circumstances or with an exceptional situation.

Discretionary Bursary

This bursary is open for all 16-19* year olds to apply for and is granted normally on household income; however other exceptional circumstances will be considered.
*Students must be aged under 19 years on the 31st August in the academic year that they start the courses.
Before making your application it is important that you read the Bursary guidance notes which are available to view on the website including the full eligibility criteria.

Bursary Amount

Category A Bursary
Eligible for up to £1200 per year paid normally at £30 per week. The remaining fund will be used to pay for trips, exam resits or other college expenses.
Discretionary Bursary
We will normally pay a weekly amount of £15 per week, subject to the number of successful applicants. The college may also substitute the cash payment for travel passes or lunch vouchers at the college’s discretion.
All bursaries are paid subject to full attendance.
Full details of financial support for students can be found here:

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.
  • Tameside College identifies students in need of special provision in liaison with Inclusive Services, make arrangements for the transport, and recharge the cost to Special Educational Needs Service. 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 directly 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 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 Student Services at Tameside College or contact the Council’s Special Educational Needs Service. Contact details are at the end of this document.
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.
  • 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, write to or phone TfGM for an application form at:
    • Travel Concessions TfGM
      PO Box 429
      M60 1HX.
      Phone: 0161 244 1050
  • More Information: To ask for this information in other formats, such as in large print, in Braille, on audio tape, on CD and in other languages, please phone 0871 200 22 33 between 8am and 8pm (calls cost 10p per minute from landlines).

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 free at all times. With a Concessionary Disabled Pass travel pass you pay £1.20 at all times.
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 Sundays the times vary so please contact your local ring and ride depot for details.
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.

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 .
  • 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  

  • Residential Support Grant: is available at 51 specialist colleges. The scheme is funded by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and provides support to help with residential costs, depending on where the college is situated and the level of parental income. Further information is available from Money to Learn on Direct Gov
  • 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:
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION : The urban walking route planner - get a route map between any two points, including your journey time, calorie burn, step count and carbon saving. It’s quick, free, healthy and green. : Whether you’re new to cycling or simply want some new routes to explore, the CycleGM 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  
Telephone Contacts
  • Tameside Council Integrated Transport: 0161 342 3205/3691
  • TfGM General Travel Enquiries: 0161 228 7811
  • Tameside College: 0161 908 6789
  • Ashton Sixth Form College: 0161 330 2330


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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