Adverse weather closure and Transport advice
This page was last updated on the 28 August 2020The Department for Education (DfE) issued guidance entitled “Transport to school and other places of education: autumn term 2020”, click here to view, on 11 August 2020 covering guidance for the provision of dedicated home to school or college transport as schools return for full re-opening and also for managing the capacity of, and demand for, public transport from September.
In light of this guidance we have sent a letter to parents of children who attend mainstream schools via their child’s school, click here to view, and a letter to parents of children who attend special schools, click here to view. The letters provide guidance and information for parents and carers whose children will be using the Council's Home to School Transport Service when they return to school for the start of the 2020/21 academic year. Accompanying the letter sent to parents of children attending mainstream schools is guidance for students travelling on home to school transport, click here to view.
We have also issued guidance and instructions to school transport operators, click here to view, regarding the steps they need to take to ensure safe travel for children and young people as well as their own staff.
You can find some frequently asked questions about school transport during the current COVID-19 situation in the drop-down box below.
Home to School Transport
This page contains advice about how to find out whether your child is eligible for free school transport and how to access school transport services.
You will also find our Home to School Travel and Transport Policy and our Post 16 Transport Policy.
If you have any questions about school transport, our FAQ section may be helpful.
Apply for school/college transport
Please choose the correct form and also ensure you have read and understood the relevant school transport policy and, in particular, the eligibility criteria before considering submitting an application.
Apply for pre-16 school transport: please fill out this form if your child is attending a mainstream school.
Apply for post-16 transport: please fill out this form if your child is attending a high school sixth form or a further education college.
Apply for pre-16 SEND transport: please fill in this form if your child has an EHCP and is attending either a special school or a mainstream school.
Apply for post-16 SEND transport: please fill in this form if your child has an EHCP and is attending a further education college.
Appealing unsuccessful transport applications
Post 16 Transport Policy 2020-21 If your application for transport assistance for your child is declined, you will be sent an email explaining why. You have the right to ask for a review of this decision. The review is a two-stage process.
At stage one you can challenge a decision about:
- Your child’s eligibility
- The measurement of statutory walking distances
- The safety of the walking route
A request for a review must be made clearly, in writing, about why you believe that Northumberland County Council should reconsider their decision, including any information that might support your case.
More information about the appeals process can be found in section 20 of the Home to School Travel and Transport Policy, and section 14 of the Post-16 Transport Policy.
Download the school transport appeals process here.
Behaviour on school transport
Whilst schools will promote appropriate standards of behaviour by children on their way to and from school, it is a parental responsibility to make sure that a child behaves appropriately on a school bus or taxi.
Children who misbehave on school transport may have their entitlement or pass removed. Depending on the nature of the offence, this could be for a temporary period of time, or even permanently.
You can read more in detail about the appropriate behaviour expected on school transport by reading section 19 of the Home to School Travel and Transport policy.
Download the school transport behaviour expectations leaflet here.
School transport for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
In addition, Northumberland County Council may also provide home to school travel support as a reasonable adjustment to a child's disability in cases where the child lives within the statutory walking distance of the school.
Further information can be found in section 4.8 of the Home to School Travel and Transport policy.
A copy of our SEND transport information handbook for parents and carers can be found here.
Training of drivers and passenger assistants
When transport is arranged for children by Northumberland County Council, the appointed taxi or bus operator must only employ drivers and passenger assistants who are in receipt of an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
In addition they must also attend:
- a briefing on driver/passenger assistant code of conduct, including child safeguarding
- emergency CPR and anaphylaxis awareness training
- training on how to correctly load and secure a wheelchair and apply a passenger restraint (when transporting children in wheelchairs)
- disability awareness training (when transporting children with special educational needs and/or disabilities)
- child-specific training as and when required, e.g. managing challenging behaviour or training in the administration of rescue medication in the case of a child with a diagnosis of epilepsy or diabetes
A copy of the drivers’ code of conduct can be downloaded here.
A copy of the passenger transport assistants' code of conduct can be downloaded here.
Information for parents during periods of severe weather
Updates will be provided via the following:Northumberland County Council website school closures page.
Northumberland County Council homepage for weather updates
In extreme cases, a school may close during the day due to severe weather and your child will be sent home early.
Do you have a procedure in place for the care of your child in the event of school disruption?
It's important to be prepared in the event of disruption to the school transport service:
- Make arrangements with a relative or close friend to care for your child until you are able to get home.
- Inform the school and transport provider of these arrangements, as it may be necessary for your child to seek alternative transportation from school.
- Make sure that the school and transport provider has an emergency contact number.
- Ensure your child is aware of these arrangements.
If a school is disrupted, have you considered:
Ensure your child is warmly dressed, just in case the school transport is running late, or the journey is slow.
During periods of severe weather, a child should wait 20 minutes after their normal pick-up time for school transport. After 20 minutes, it is advisable for the child to return home.
Let the school know that your child has returned home after waiting 20 minutes for transport to arrive. Make sure that you have the contact details of your transport providers and that they have emergency contact numbers for you.
If you take your child to school, it is your responsibility to collect them in the afternoon.
It’s important for parents to have a plan in place, if they are not home when a child returns. For example, a buddy scheme, or a family friend or relative who the child can go to until the parent or carer returns home.
PLEASE NOTE: More information about the operation of school transport during bad weather can be found in section 18 of the Home to School Travel and Transport policy.