School Transport - SESTA

Find out about SESTA (Specialised School Transport Assistance).

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Travel assistance

There are 3 types of travel assistance:

  • a place on a school bus.
  • a place on a SESTA service (for example, a taxi, minibus or total mobility vehicle).
  • a conveyance allowance (which helps fund the student's transport).

The student might receive one or a combination of these three, depending on their needs.

Caregivers can apply on the Parents website:

Equipment assistance

Students who are eligible for SESTA can apply for a School Transport Equipment Grant.

The grant is only to pay for equipment that is used for transporting the student to and from school.

Caregivers can apply on the Parents website:

Who is eligible?

A student must meet all 3 criteria to be eligible for SESTA.

First criterion

To be eligible for SESTA, the student must be aged between 5 and 21 years.

Second criterion

To be eligible for SESTA, the student must have mobility or safety needs that prevent them from travelling independently to and from school.

Example of a mobility need: wheelchairs or other specialist equipment.

Example of a safety need: a learning disability or serious behavioural or medical condition that could pose a risk to themselves or others.

Third criterion

To be eligible for SESTA, the student must go to the closest state school (or state-integrated school, or educational setting) that is able to provide for their learning support needs.

Students not attending their closest school, but who meet the other criteria, are eligible for an allowance to assist with transport (this is known as a "conveyance allowance").

Who isn't eligible?

SESTA isn't for students who are:

  • on ACC (you'll need to Contact ACC (external link) )
  • boarding at residential schools, and need transport to and from home for the weekend or holidays
  • attending a private school.

SESTA is not provided if the caregiver has mobility or safety needs.

Which journeys do SESTA cover?

SESTA is only for the journey between the student’s home (or approved alternate address) and school.

Transport for a student between school and an alternative home address may be arranged if, for example:

  • respite or after school care arrangements have been made at an approved address other than the student's usual home
  • the student has more than one home address because of shared custody.

Transport between the student’s home and alternate address is the responsibility of the caregiver.

Journey times for students in a SESTA service should not exceed one hour, and should preferably be less than 40 minutes. 

Applications and change of circumstance

Caregivers can apply on the Parents website:

The form is also available from your local Ministry of Education office.

At the end of the assessment process, the Ministry of Education writes to the caregiver about the decision.

Reviewing decisions

If a caregiver wants to review a decision, they should contact their school's Learning Support Leader/SENCO (or the Learning Support Manager at the local Ministry of Education office), and complete the review form.

The Learning Support Leader/SENCO will support the caregivers through the process.

The review form is on the Parents website:

Support for Learning Support Leaders/SENCO

SENCOs can contact their Ministry of Education Learning Support Manager for help.

Responsibilities of drivers, school staff, and caregivers

Drivers, school staff, and caregivers all have responsibilities when using SESTA.

These responsibilities include obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Vulnerable Children Act.

Contact

Caregivers should first contact their school for help.

Schools can contact the Learning Support Manager at their local Ministry of Education office.

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