Travel training can give your child the skills and confidence they need to travel on their own to and from school on public transport. It can also help prepare them for future employment, study and social opportunities.
The Travel Education Framework is a program for students at specialist schools, from upper primary to year 12.
The program covers:
- planning and preparing to travel
- using public transport
- how to behave when travelling
- staying safe and dealing with unexpected situations.
This training is part of the Students with Disabilities Transport Program.
Your child’s teacher will talk to you if they think your child should take part in travel training. You (or your child) can also talk to the teacher if you (or your child) think they’re ready to start travel training.
The training is delivered by a teacher at your child's specialist school.
The levels are:
- Beginner – road safety and public transport
- Intermediate – small supervised group excursions on different types of public transport
- Advanced – one-to-one training focusing on your child's route from home to school – they'll also practice problem solving skills and appropriate behaviour for independent travel.
All levels include classroom-based learning.
When the teacher thinks your child is nearly ready to travel on their own, the teacher or education support staff will shadow your child at a distance.
Your child’s progress
Your child’s progress will be regularly reviewed by their student support group.
You can also meet with the school at any time to talk about any concerns or questions you may have.
Completing the training
Your child will have completed the training when they can:
- confidently and safely complete the school journey both ways without help or supervision
- confidently use their problem solving skills
- keep calm and manage any personal worries about travelling independently
- demonstrate appropriate behaviour on public transport.
Appropriate behaviour includes:
- an awareness of personal space and how this might be different on public transport
- where to stand/sit at the bus/tram stop or on the train station platform
- where to place bags or bulky items
- how and when to interact with the driver
- how to interact with other passengers
- who and how to ask for information or help
- courtesy to passengers with special needs.
Once your child can travel independently
Teachers will continue to check on your child’s progress during the early stages of their independent travel. They may ask your child to check in with a particular member of staff when they get to school. This is so that they can help with any issues.
It’s also a good idea to ask your child to check in with you when they return home. You can let the school know of any issues as they can work with you to address them.
You can talk to the school about how long your child’s progress needs to be monitored.
Keeping your child safe
As part of school staff's duty of care responsibilities, the school does a full assessment of potential risks to your child during the training. They put support and strategies in place to minimise these risks. You can work with the school on this as part of your child’s student support group.
The school will consider:
- your child’s strengths and challenges and what support they need to address these – this includes their problem solving skills and how they deal with unexpected situations
- any dangers or problems your child may face when travelling on their own
- any worries your child has about travelling on their own.
The school will take all these risks into account and prepare a risk management plan for your child. This is designed to support your child to travel as safely as possible.
If your child has a mobile phone, they should carry it whenever they are travelling independently. This is so they can contact the school, you or other carers or emergency services in an unexpected situation.
You can help by making sure your child:
- has enough credit on their phone
- can use the phone
- has family contact numbers saved on the phone.
Schools will work with your child to make sure they:
- can use the phone
- have the school’s number and other relevant emergency numbers saved on the phone
- know how to describe where they are – for example, street signs, landmarks
- know how to make emergency and reverse charge calls from public payphones.
Students should always have their mobile phone switched on while travelling. They should not use their mobile phone or have earphones in while walking.
Travel information card
Your child will also be encouraged to carry a travel information card that includes:
- their name and the name of their school
- their travel route and modes of transport
- relevant emergency numbers.
In an emergency, your child can hand the card to someone to help them.