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Independent travel training

Support given to young people who have special education needs to help them travel independently.

Independent travel training is a structured programme designed to teach students who have special educational needs or who are particularly vulnerable how to travel independently.

Designed to be run within schools or colleges, our independent travel scheme has been running for a number of years and has continued to expand.

The support given to young people is flexible to meet their differing needs and each step is authorised by parents/carers. Therefore, the training can take varying lengths of time depending on the ability and experience of the individual.

The route learned can be to school, college or work placement and the skills learnt are transferrable to allow young people to become more independent in their leisure time.

"I really enjoyed travel training. I learned how to handle money and became more confident in using public transport."

"When we saw him walking home on his first unaccompanied journey, his face beaming, we knew we had made the right decision. We would not hesitate in recommending this service to any other family in a similar situation."

Please note: if your child attends an Academy, the cost of the independent travel team support will need to be met by the school prior to training taking place, unless they already travel on specialist transport provided by Calderdale Council.

Primary school

Work begins with classroom based activities in year 5, moving onto road safety training and if needed, bus journey to and from school in year 6 in preparation for the move to secondary school. Work is usually carried out by school staff supported by the Independent Travel Team.

Secondary school

Involves learning the home to school journey often in small stages. Alternatively, if more basic road safety work is required this is normally carried out by school staff.

Independent in a month scheme

This scheme operates at Ravenscliffe High School and Sports College.

Young people are intensively trained to become more independent in a month; work can also be undertaken to learn routes to leisure activities in addition to the home to school transport journey. For further information contact Jason Oldroyd.

Summer scheme

During the summer holidays any young person with special educational needs who is not quite ready to undertake the journey independently to their next step in education can become involved in the summer scheme. This takes the format of intensive training during the holidays, learning the route to their next place of learning.

Yellow buses

This is often the first step towards independence.

  • All pupils are allocated a seat;
  • seat belts must be worn;
  • CCTV cameras are installed;
  • and the same driver is used.

Also, some of these services have escorts on and can operate more localised pick up points. (Such as the bus for the Sports College.)

Travel Training case study

What was the issue?

This young person was taxied to school initially on their own due to erratic behaviour when travelling with peers due to their ASD.

At the year 9 annual review we discussed travelling on the yellow bus to school, the young person was excited about this and wanted to be able to be “like my friends”, and it would make them feel more grown up. The parents were sceptical about this but we discussed letting them try to see how they got on. 

Our journey so far

We began with accompanied journeys on the yellow school bus; however, it soon became evident that the young person needed the continuity of being able to sit in the same seat near the driver for every journey. 

This worked extremely well for the young person and parents noted the change in their behaviours, the young person being more confident and more able to cope with certain situations. 

We then moved forward to shadowed journeys and although there were a couple of incidents the young person dealt with them as they didn’t want to go back in a taxi. 

What happened next

We progressed to monitored journeys to assess how the young person was coping with this; it was great to see them develop into a confident young person. 

A short time later, school contacted me as the young person wanted to stay after school twice weekly for after school clubs so they went back in a taxi for these journeys initially, however they was now able to travel with peers who were attending the same clubs.

In year 10, parents contacted me to see if we could cover some journeys on the public service bus as the young person didn’t want to travel home in a taxi but wanted to use the service bus, they also wanted to be able to visit grandparents at a weekend. 

What difference has this made? 

Independent travel training opened so many doors for this young person who is now travelling independently to college and is hoping to attend university next year. This young person would have struggled to cope with any of this a short time ago. 


Transport Operations Team:

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