Children with special educational needs or disabilities which do not prevent them doing so will be expected to walk up to three miles to school before receiving travel funding from Swindon Borough Council.

And special medical assistance will only be provided if an assessment deems it necessary for the child.

That’s if members of the council’s ruling cabinet agree to the authority’s SEND travel policy at their meeting on Wednesday (March 13).

The policy says that the council has a legal duty to “provide free suitable travel arrangements for eligible children under the age of 16". And it only applies to children who live in the borough.

The eligibility rules say the council will look at providing free travel if children between five and 16 if they live outside the statutory walking distance, and that distance is two miles for youngsters up to age eight and up to three miles for children aged eight to 16.

A child will also be eligible for help or live closer than the walking distance but the route is unsafe or because the nature of their needs or disability prevents it even if they are accompanied.

The policy to be discussed says the law on safe walking routes assumes children will be accompanied by a responsible adult: “A safe route will be on footpaths along the majority of its length. Short sections of road with a speed limit of 30mph, or less, may be acceptable, subject to assessment.

“Crossings of major routes, including all routes with a speed limit more than 30mph, will either be by controlled crossing or by under-or over-pass.”

Travel assistance may be provided to primary school pupils if they have to use roads without a footpath at the side or lights.

Some parents want their children to have someone accompany them who can provide medical assistance if needed. The council’s policy on passenger assistants is that one only be provided after an assessment of need, and the assistants: “Will only deliver medical interventions that they have been trained for, and deemed competent to, carry out by a registered health care professional.”

The policy says the preferred assistance from the council is to provide a personal travel budget to an eligible child’s family: “Parents/carers are best placed to support travel arrangements of their own children."

The budget could be used for a variety of things such as the cost of driving a child to school, or making arrangements with other parents, or paying for a passenger assistant or another responsible adult to go with the pupil on public transport, or even to make arrangements for other children so they can accompany the eligible child.