School transport numbers, funding and quality assurance

1. For each academic year since 2009/2010, how many children aged 5-16 in Devon have received free statutory home to school transport? And, of these, how many children have received this provision on the eligibility of SEND? Please provide total figures for each academic year including the current academic year.

Please see the table available via the link below:


2. Do you routinely record educational absences due to a lack of home to school transport provision for children aged 5-16 eligible for this provision on the basis of SEND? If so, please provide the data on this for each academic year since 2009/2010 including the current year to date.


3. For each academic year since 2009/2010, how much funding has Devon spent providing home to school transport for children aged 5-16 eligible on the basis of SEND? Please provide total figures for each academic year.

Please the information below:

2015/16: £8,138,044
2016/17: £9,799,081
2017/18:  £10,452,177
2018/19:  £11,729,511

We should clarify that these totals are based on financial year, not Academic year

4. For each academic year since 2009/2010, how many children, aged 5-16, requiring specialist support from a chaperone on their home to school journey have received this support? Please give your answer as a percentage of total children eligible for chaperone support on the basis of SEND.

Please see the information below for each academic year:

2015/16; 566
2016/17: 545
2017/18; 552
2018/19: 568

These figures may include some passengers attending special schools or mainstream settings who are Post 16
Prior to 2015/16 we do not have records for the number of individual passengers

We should clarify that escorts or chaperones are provided based on the individual needs of an individual passenger or the group of passengers travelling on a vehicle. The majority of these will be based on a SEND need but we do not hold what percentage this is. A small number will be provided based on a medical need for passengers without a SEND and this may require specialist training for the chaperone or in one or two exceptional cases specialist transport providers to meet this need.

5. What quality assurance processes do you have in place to ensure that home to school transport provision, including but not limited to training of the chaperone and driver, type of vehicle, length of journey and needs of other children on board, for children aged 5-16 on the basis of SEND is appropriate to meet each individual child’s needs?

We have a dedicated Safety and Compliance team within our Transport Coordination Service who ensures that all new contractors have their vehicles inspected and all necessary vehicle and driver documents are checked before they are awarded a contract. All drivers and escorts are Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked to the enhanced level prior to them working on our contracts. This is rechecked every three years.

All drivers and escorts also have to undertake our mandatory training which includes Equality, Safeguarding (including child exploitation), disability awareness. For escorts there are two further modules behaviour management and First Aid. We also ensure that all drivers are trained in the safe operation of the vehicle tail lift and how to correctly secure wheel chairs inside the vehicles. For our own fleet of wheelchair accessible vehicles all drivers must take and pass a driving test to that of the standard of the Department for Transport driving test. Escorts will also receive additional training or guidance in relation to any individual child’s needs and where required a medical protocol is issued.

Within the Transport Coordination Service the compliance team works with colleagues to ensure we provide the correct transport for the children we transport. Where appropriate we issue booster seats for all children that are below 135 cms and under 12 years old. For children with SEND we will always check with the school that the mix of children on the vehicles will work with as little disruption as possible for the children. Wherever possible we will ensure that the maximum journey time for a primary aged child is 45 minutes and for senior children 75 minutes. As we cover a large rural County like Devon this is not always possible when taking individual journey times into account to specialist settings.

The Devon County Council Education Transport Policy sets out areas such as journey time, distance to a pick up point etc. Where relevant reference is made to any factors affecting children with a SEND. This can be viewed online at:
(click on the link to the policy at the bottom of the web page)

In addition information above the Devon County Council Driver and Escort Handbook is also available online:
(click on the link in the list)

6. What is your planning process, including timescales, for ensuring the provision of home to school transport for children aged 5-16 eligible on the basis of SEND, and what data sources do you use to support this process?

For September starts, from February onwards, linked with when Education Health Care Plans are finalised, information is shared with the transport department.

Transport application forms are sent and the transport unit work on various data sources including internal Education and Social Care Departments, schools and colleges, parents, etc. The planning of the transport is from the point an application or referral is received through to the procurement of the required transport and the start of the new school year in September. In year application and changes are managed from September onwards through the academic year and timescales vary dependent on the complexity of the transport required and whether it can be accommodated on the existing transport network – having to procure additional transport may lengthen this process, in particular where we need to ensure drivers and escorts are trained to the appropriate level to meet the child’s needs.

All passenger transport in Devon County Council’s area is managed by its Transport Coordination Service, including Education Transport, Social Care, the National Bus Pass and for the NHS.