If you have received a letter from Passenger Transport refusing transport for your child(ren) to their school, and you have been advised of your right to challenge this decision through a transport appeal, you will need to complete the enclosed/attached/online form and return it to us with supporting evidence.
We understand that going through the appeal process acn be an anxious time and we hope that the information contained in this guide will simplify the process for you. It will take you through the process and explain what happens at each point and what you need to do.
What can I do if I do not agree with the decision?
You may appeal for the following reasons:
- The transport arrangements offered
- Your child’s eligibility
- you disagree with the distance measurement between your home and your child’s school or college;
- you consider that the nearest walking route is unsafe for an accompanied child pedestrian;
- Consideration of exceptional circumstances. This may include, but not limited to, the following examples-
- your child’s special needs, disability or medical condition mean that they cannot be expected to walk to their school;
- your medical condition means that you cannot accompany your child to their school;
- there are other exceptional circumstances which mean that you cannot arrange for your child to access their school.
If you wish, you may use more than one reason as grounds for your appeal. In this case, your appeal will always be considered in the following order:
- your disagreement with the distance measurement;
- your concerns over the CloseYou consider that the nearest available walking route is unsafe for an accompanied child pedestrian to their nearest or catchment school of the walking route;
- any other exceptional circumstances including the transport arrangements offered and your child’s eligibility.
You must provide reasons for your appeal and cannot appeal simply appeal because you disagree with the decision. You must provide detailed evidence to support your appeal. All information you provide will be treated as confidential.
If your child is attending their CloseIn some circumstances, you may live in an area of Suffolk where your catchment school is not your physically closest school. As you may be eligible for free transport (if both schools meet the distance criteria) you will need to contact us so we can assess this or has been CloseThe child has been placed at a school by a Local Authority Officer; this includes a placement at the nearest suitable school with places available if none of you preferences can be met or to a special school or specialist unit on the grounds of special educational needs. at a school by the local authority and your appeal is on the grounds of the CloseYou consider that the nearest available walking route is unsafe for an accompanied child pedestrian to their nearest or catchment school of the walking route and distance measurement, it will be considered by the Education Transport Appeals Committee. This Committee is made up of three elected County Councillors who will inspect the route before the meeting. You will be invited to the meeting to make verbal representation and will be able to bring a friend or relative to support you. You can ask your County Councillor to be present, or to put your case for you. If you are invited to a meeting of the Education Transport Appeals Committee, the invitation will include information about the way in which the meeting will proceed.
If your child is attending their nearest or historic CloseTransport Priority Area in which free transport is offered to a particular school. In most cases this follows the catchment area used by Admissions but for locations close to a free school, this does not always follow the catchment area used by Admissions. school or has been CloseThe child has been placed at a school by a Local Authority Officer; this includes a placement at the nearest suitable school with places available if none of you preferences can be met or to a special school or specialist unit on the grounds of special educational needs. at a school by the local authority and your appeal is on the grounds of your child’s special needs and/or disability, their medical condition, or your medical condition or any other exceptional circumstances, your written submission will be considered by a Panel of Officers. The Panel is made up of Legal Services, Health, Well Being and Children’s Services and Passenger Transport. If you would like to make verbal representation to the Education Transport Appeals Committee you will need to confirm in writing that you wish to do this.. Appeals to the Officer Panel will usually progress more quickly than appeals to the Education Transport Appeals Committee. The Officer Panel may choose to grant or refuse transport and its decision is final, there is no further right of representation to the Education Transport Appeals Committee once the Officer Panel decision has been made.
If your appeal is regarding any student aged 4-16; is a nursey school student in a specialist provision; is a Post 16's, or is a Post 19 student with an EHCP and your appeal is on the grounds of
- your child’s special needs and/or disability,
- their medical condition, or
- your medical condition or
- any other exceptional circumstances such as families in a vulnerable/emergency situation who at risk of missing education or becoming not in education, employment or training,
it will be considered by the Individual Needs Transport Panel (INTP). This group is made up of Officers from the Health, Wellbeing and Children’s Services and the Passenger Transport Department. You do not have the option to give verbal representation to this group. Appeals to the INTP will be held once a fortnight; in greater frequency than those appeals heard at Officer Panel and Education Transport Appeals Committee. The INTP may choose to grant or refuse transport and its decision is final, there is no further right of representation to the Officer Panel or Education Transport Appeals Committee once its decision has been made.
- We will not consider the following examples as exceptional reasons why free funded transport should be provided (this list is not exhaustive):-
- Work – we do not consider issues relating to a parent’s employment, such as working patterns, to be an exceptional reason for a parent not be able to get their child to school
- Removal of school’s own transport
- Children at different schools if school choices are parental preference. If however, children are at different schools because of placements by the local authority, parents will need to evidence why children are at different schools and exhausted the use of school breakfast clubs/after school clubs as a means to facilitate dropping off/collecting all school children
- House moves – we do not consider changes to entitlement because of a planned house move
- School moves – if you have voluntarily moved your child’s school and they are no longer attending the nearest qualifying school with places available which provides education appropriate for the age, ability, aptitude of the child and any SEN the child may have, it will affect their entitlement to school transport. It would be the authority’s expectation any complaint against a school would be taken up with the school directly according to the schools complaints policy before the student was removed from the school.
To make an appeal, please contact:Home to School Travel (Appeals) Passenger Transport Suffolk County Council Constantine House Ipswich IP1 2DH Tel: 0345 606 6173 Email: email@example.com
You will be informed of the outcome of your appeal in writing within 7 working days of the meeting.
If your appeal is rejected by the Education Transport Appeals Committee or the Officer Panel, your appeal will not be upheld and you will have no further right of appeal. However, should you feel the Council has failed to follow correct procedures or has failed to act independently or fairly, you will have the right to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.PO Box 4771 Coventry CV4 0EH Helpline: 0300 061 0614 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
You cannot appeal against the Council’s transport policy. If you feel that the policy is unfair, you can explain your views to your local County Councillor. You can find out who your local County Councillor is from the website www.writetothem.com or by contacting SCC Democratic Services on 01473 265119.
If you should be dissatisfied with any provision of the service you have received, you can raise your concerns through our corporate complaints procedure. You must provide reasons for your complaint and cannot complain simply because you disagree with the decision from INTG, Officer Panel or ETAC.
To make a complaint, please contact the SCC Customer Rights Team. Full contact details are on the website www.suffolk.gov.uk/about/make-a-complaint-or-give-feedback or you can contact SCC Customer Rights Team email@example.com or 03456 066 067.