'Much more independent' - How public transport training helps change lives of people with SEND

Suffolk County Council

Tony, Kelly and Callum have all gained more independence thanks to training to help them take public transport - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Students with special educational needs and disabilities from across Suffolk have completed more than 500 journeys on public transport after taking part in travel training.

The travel training helps build self-esteem and confidence by supporting young people and adults to use all forms of public transport, or walking routes. Trainers work one-to-one with the students to enable them to travel to their place of education or for work.

Commissioned by Suffolk County Council in 2015, the Independent Travel Training Service is delivered by Essex County Council and has helped more than 500 students across the county.

Suffolk County Council

The students were presented with their travel certificate by Chairman of the Council, Cllr Graham Newman - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Tony, 21, has just completed his travel training. He was shown how to get to school on two buses, before being taught another route to get to college and he now uses the bus to meet friends and watch Ipswich Town.  

He said: “I have become much more independent and can do it on my own now.

“It means I don’t have to reply on my mum for lifts everywhere. I have learnt about road safety, what route to take and how to pay the bus driver.”

Suffolk County Council Independent Travel Training Service

Students and trainers from the Independent Travel Training Service commissioned by Suffolk County Council - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Rachel Hood, cabinet member for SEND, education and skills at Suffolk County Council, said: “This travel training is an absolute lifeline for young people and adults.

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“It teaches them very practical skills about how to use public transport which will stay with them through adulthood and gives them confidence in their own independence which undoubtedly benefits other aspects of their lives.

“My priority is to ensure all children and young people, including those with SEND, are given the very best start in life. This travel training is vital to achieve this aspiration.”

Another student, Kelly, 21, said: “I have learnt how to read a timetable and get on the right bus. I am a lot more confident on the bus now.”

Callum, 21, who has had training since 2017 whilst at school, then when he went to college and recently to his work, said he would recommend the training.

The three students were presented with a certificate by Suffolk County Council chairman, Graham Newman, at a ceremony today after completing their training.

WS Training is one of the many establishments that support SEND students and the Travel Training Service in Suffolk, to find out more visit: www.wstraining.co.uk

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