At Ravenscliffe, we recognise that every student is entitled to develop their independence skills as they progress through school. Therefore, opportunities for travel training for all of our students are fundamental to this development of greater independence.
Established in 2000, travel training primarily aims to challenge the notion that all young people with special educational needs must be transported to and from school on a daily basis. Importantly, independent travel is an integral part of the school's springboard employability programme, in giving students the confidence to travel to and from their place of work safely.
Ravenscliffe has ten Travel Trainers who have completed the Bradford Travel Training Unit Course which has been invaluable in providing an excellent framework from which to develop strategies to help our students to travel safely and independently.
General Travel Training Opportunities
From Year 7 onwards this programme aims to provide all our students with an appropriate and purposeful travel training experience in at least one session each week. This may involve developing mobility skills within the more supportive and sheltered environment of the school grounds or travelling to the local shops. Initially all students start with full support, travelling in groups of 1-3. Qualified Travel Trainers assess their capabilities and record small steps of independence. As a student learns to become more independent their level of measured support gradually decreases from full to distant supervision. When students reach a sufficient level of independence, they may be nominated for the "Independence in a Month" scheme.
Independence in a Month
Launched in April 2006, the 'Independence in a Month' scheme aims to develop full independence for some of our more capable students. Targeted students are withdrawn from normal timetable for a month and receive intense support from Calderdale’s Leading Travel Trainer (who is also based at Ravenscliffe) with the expectation that they will achieve full independence within this timescale. Stringent Risk Assessments and Safe Travel Routes are put into place. Travel is broken down into 15 steps and Parents/Carers consent each step of independence. A student cannot progress to the next step without this consent. Importantly, the training doesn’t stop after the month; students receive extra support when needed to learn routes to work placements, leisure opportunities, respite centres & further education providers. To date, 65 students have successfully completed this scheme, and are all now fully independent in their travel. This has a far greater reach than just Ravenscliffe, as all of these students can take the skills they have learned into the future.
The Yellow Bus Scheme
We established our first yellow bus service, the R1, in July 2006. The service brings up to 25 students from the North Halifax area to/from school on a daily basis. In April 2007 a second route, the R2, was launched. The service transports up to 15 students from the Greetland, Elland and West Vale areas. Then, in 2011, we launched our third yellow bus, the R3. The R3 serves up to 15 students who travel from the Calder Valley area. Each year numbers are growing and we are hoping to develop this scheme further. The yellow bus scheme provides a ‘half way house’ towards independence; students may get to and from an agreed pick up point independently and some maintain support from family members, with a view to becoming more independent as their skills increase. Students selected have already displayed some achievements on the school’s general Travel Training scheme. Small steps of independence are encouraged and many students naturally progress to the Independence in a Month scheme. Importantly, the yellow buses allow some wheelchair users to travel into school with their friends.