Transport for students with special needs

This page has information on transport to and from school for students with special needs, the services provided, student eligibility, how to apply, notifying absences and changes to transport arrangements.

Transport is available for students who have:

  • a disability that prevents independent travel and who attend a specialist school or centre
  • parents or carers who are unable to arrange or provide transport to and from school.

Transport services provided may be one of the following:

  • from home to school
  • from designated location pick up points.

Medication services are not provided.

For your child to be eligible for special needs transport, they must meet all of the following criteria:

  • permanent resident of the Northern Territory (NT)
  • assessed as having an identified disability and be enrolled in a specialist school or centre and/or
  • require a high level of assistance for mobility purposes and require assisted travel for a wheelchair or other form of mobility aid
  • enrolled at the closest appropriate school to their home
  • not already travelling to and from school independently, or have the capacity to do so
  • lives within the identified catchment area for transport
  • have a maximum travel time of 60 minutes to and from school.

In recognition of the complexity of some special needs, under certain circumstances, your child may be considered eligible even if they fall outside of the eligibility criteria.

Such situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

To apply for special needs transport, you must follow all of these steps:

  1. Take all relevant information about your child's needs to your child's school.
  2. Discuss with the principal whether your child meets the eligibility criteria.
  3. Fill in the special needs transport request form. This is available from your child's school.
  4. Submit the form to your child's school.
  5. Provide Australian Standard or equivalent equipment and restraints to the school.

On receipt of the application, the following steps will be taken:

  1. The Department of Education will assess the application to confirm your child's eligibility for transport assistance. The application will take up to 7 working days to process.
  2. Your child's school will advise you of the outcome of the application.
  3. If approved, the school will advise you of the time and location of pick up and drop off.

If the application is not approved, discuss this with your child's school.

If your child is absent from school for one day or more, notify the school or, if contact details are known, the transport provider.

If your child does not use the transport service for more than 5 days without notification, the transport will be cancelled.

If you need to make a temporary or permanent change to your child's transport arrangements, fill out the change of request form available from your child's school.

The application will take up to 7 days to process and your child's school will advise you of the outcome of the application.

Eligibility criteria applies to any change in transport arrangements.

Despite the vast majority of student travel experiences being positive, on occasion students can be involved in incidents during transport.

This may be as a result of a student's behaviour and can impact on themselves, other students, the transit carer or driver.

If your child is involved in an incident, the following steps will be taken:

  1. An incident report from the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics will be sent to you and your child's school.
  2. You will be asked to meet with your child's school and the transport provider.
  3. A behaviour plan for your child may be introduced.
  4. In some cases transport services may be temporarily or permanently withdrawn.
  5. Decisions will be made in a timely manner and you will be notified in writing of the outcome.

If you are unhappy with the outcome, you can appeal the decision through your child's school.

To read the policy on transport for students with special needs, go to the Department of Education website.

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