The vehicles used to transport education support students are often modified to accommodate the needs of students. In addition, because many education support students have mobility issues, they are usually picked up and dropped off on a door-to-door basis.
A student is only permitted to travel on an education support vehicle after the SBS has advised the contractor of the approval.
Student medical considerations
There are circumstances such as a medical condition and/or special needs of a student which makes it not feasible or safe for the student to be transported by an education support vehicle. The parents/carers of eligible students who cannot be transported by education support vehicles are usually entitled to a conveyance allowance.
Wheelchair and special equipment
Students travelling in a wheelchair or those who require special equipment to travel on an education support vehicle will not be transported until the appropriate restraint/equipment is available for use.
Some students require medication to be administered at set times during the day. However, drivers and bus aides may not legally dispense medication and accordingly such students can only be transported at times when they do not need medication administered.
Some students have special feeding requirements (e.g. feeding via tubes) and cannot be moved after they have eaten. Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate such students; however, it can be that the time required for the feeding and related resting period would make a service’s journey time excessive. In such cases, it may be that the student cannot be transported on the available services.
Transport to respite centres
Permission may be granted for students to travel on education support vehicles to and from respite care facilities including home based respite, subject to the following conditions:
- The respite facility is within the relevant school's transport catchment area.
- The journey to the respite facility does not cause the bus trip to exceed 90 minutes duration for any student on the bus.
- A seat or space is available for the student on the bus.
- Approval would not normally be given if the travel to or from home-based respite would involve deviation from the approved route.
Students behaviour on education support vehicles.
Students travelling on education support vehicles are expected to behave appropriately and in accordance with the general principles set out in the Code of Conduct and the Conditions of Travel which parents/carers acknowledge when applying for Transport Assistance. Whilst all students are expected to abide by the 'Code of Conduct', special consideration will be given to students with intellectual disabilities. In all cases, however, the safety of those travelling on education support vehicles is paramount and if a student’s behaviour endangers the health or safety of any person on an education support vehicle, their entitlement to travel may be suspended or withdrawn.
Notice of suspension or withdrawal of entitlement
If permission for a student to travel or their entitlement to transport assistance is suspended or withdrawn, SBS will notify the parent/carer and any other affected parties as soon as possible so that alternative transport arrangements for the student can be made. Contractors, drivers and bus aides.
Contractors, drivers and bus aides must fulfil their duties and conduct themselves in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, codes, relevant guidelines and the terms of the service contract. Any person who wishes to make a formal complaint about the conduct of a contractor, driver, bus aide or any other person involved in providing school bus transport assistance should advise SBS in writing.
SBS is responsible for taking any action against contractors, drivers and/or bus aides in relation to the service contract or the performance of contractual duties.
Contractors transporting students to education support facilities must include information in their safety management plan describing any relevant medical conditions the student may have. This information must be contained in a ‘care plan’ which is appropriate to the particular student travelling on the vehicle and must cover, at least, the following:
- A basic description of the medical condition of each student.
- Any behaviour management issues relating to individual students.
- Contingency arrangements if a parent or carer fails to meet the bus or is late (e.g. emergency drop-off addresses).
- Location and contact details of the nearest medical facilities.
- Contact details for education support facilities and respite centres.