Independent travel training
Special educational needs students really going places
Students with special educational needs can struggle to travel independently - and overcoming this can seem like a mountain to climb. Simple journeys to see friends, go to school or college or even commuting to a job can seem really daunting. Encouraging young people to take those first steps to being confident enough to catch a bus, hand over money and navigate their own way to and from bus stops can cause anxiety, stress and concern - for students, parents and carers alike.
Help is at hand. Gloucestershire County Council is working closely with students and their families on a one to one basis to fully support them to acquire the skills and confidence needed to travel independently.
The Independent Travel Training team was introduced in January 2017 and qualified trainers have already supported 71 young people to travel independently. The support offered to young people helps them to understand the risks of independent travel and introduces them to appropriate coping strategies to help them manage their journeys.
Quote from 'R' who benefitted from travel training
"I am now very happy with catching the bus and I'm not worried about travelling on my own anymore. I can also catch a different bus to the one we practiced on, which means sometimes I can get to college earlier. I now feel safe enough to catch the bus on the weekends to meet friends in town, which I couldn't do before so it has made me very happy."
Quote from 'R's' Mum Kelly
"I am much more relaxed about R getting to college, where before I used to worry about his safety. I also feel confident that if there was an issue, R would be able to contact me on his phone to let me know what was happening. I feel very positive about travel training and it has also enabled me to have more time in the mornings to help support teh rest of the family, which has been invaluable."
Quote from 'A' who benefitted from travel training
"I found Steve (a travel trainer) very helpful as he asked me questions about things that could happen on the bus and what to do in those situations. He also got me open to challenges that I couldn't do before. I think that travel training helped me a lot into gaining confidence about travelling alone from home to college and back."
"This service is a must for students, especially post 16 students who desperately need this specific experience to help them gain access to an important life skill. Students tend to cling on to parents/carers, especially due to anxiety and low confidence issues. Without this we could have still seen A extremely reluctant to realise he had the potential to move forward. Steve (a travel trainer) and the team help them realise, with care, support and praise, that despite their disability issues, they can do what other students can do. This is invaluable."
Rachel Dickinson, Transition Manager at a Gloucestershire special school
"We are very lucky to have the travel training team working in partnership with us. They have helped many of our pupils to travel independently to college as they are preparing to leave school and this has greatly increased their confidence, social life and prospects of getting a job later on. The team take a lot of trouble to get to know our pupils and their families before starting the training so they can go at the right pace and ensure all needs are met. I have no reservations in recommending them."
How does travel training work?
Travel training will usually start with a home or school visit followed by an initial assessment to make sure the training is suitable for the young person at the time.
Training will be on a one to one basis with our trainer accompanying the student for their entire journey, often travelling with them to the bus stop, sitting with them on the bus and then taking them to their destination. As the student becomes more confident, our trainer will start reducing the amount of journey time with them - helping the student to be independent and travel safely.
Sessions will be bespoke to meet your individual needs.
There is no pass or fail, it is a travel experience with an outcome we discuss and agree with you.
Parents and carers have found they are able to step back a little for the first time in years. An added bonus is that more social opportunities are now open to trainees and being able to travel independently can lead to work placement possibilities.
Who is this service available for?
- You have an Education, Health & Care Plan
- You are/will be in full-time education (540 guided learning hours)
- You are/will be attending the nearest school or college that can meet your educational needs
- You live over 3 miles away from your nearest school or college
If you do not meet this criteria, please get in touch to see if we can still help.
How will travel training be delivered?
The training will include:
- using a bus pass or money and understanding information displays/timetables
- journey planning
- practical training in the community: on foot, crossing roads, using public transport with the right support from the travel trainer
- 'What if' scenarios, copying strategies, how to resolve problems, using a mobile phone safely and more.
Who can make referrals?
Either parents or the following people can refer for travel training: schools, social workers and other practitioners or lead professionals working with children and young people with learning difficulties or disabilities.
If you complete and return our referral form and questionnaire, we will contact you to discuss your options.
For an informal conversation about how travel training might help you, please contact Tim or Steve on: