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Fact sheet

School Transport

Many parents who have disabilities find it difficult to get their children to school. At the moment, only families who live beyond “walking distance” from their school (2 miles for under 8's, 3 miles for over 8's) are automatically given free transport, but Local Authorities and County Councils can give help to families who live within “walking distance”, if the family is in “special circumstances”. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) makes such help mandatory for some disabled parents.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families DfES Home to School Travel and Transport Guidance (449 KB) says:

87. “Since December 2006, the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, has placed a duty on the public sector to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people and to eliminate discrimination. This duty is anticipatory, meaning that public authorities will have to review all their policies, practices, procedures and services to make sure they do not discriminate against disabled people and ensure that all their services are planned with disabled people's needs fully considered in advance.

88. In the Department's view, this means that local authorities will be under a duty to amend their home to school transport policy if, for example, that policy relied on disabled parents accompanying their children along a walking route for it to be considered safe, and where the parents' disability prevented them from doing so. In such circumstances, a reasonable adjustment would be for the local authority to provide free home to school transport for the children of disabled parents.”

In addition to the Disability Equality Duty placed upon local authorities, some parents may choose to use their direct payments in order to buy assistance that would allow them to support their child in getting to school themselves. Parents might wish to do this if they wished to accompany small children on the school journey. This does not detract from disabled parents’ DDA entitlements as set out in the Home to School Travel and Transport guidance.

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