Improvements to a scheme helping pupils travel independently around Nottingham will open up support to more youngsters.

Nottingham City Council has updated its Independent Travel Training (ITT) service, which offers practical help to pupils with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).

Youngsters tend to become less reliant on their families to help them get around as they get older, but this can be harder for those who have certain learning and physical disabilities.

The aim of ITT is to:

  • Promote independence and enable students to access positive social activities
  • Increase confidence
  • Help improve social skills and maintain relationships
  • Open up routes to further education, employment and leisure

This is achieved through a training scheme which teaches students:

  • How to cope with traffic and road safety
  • The Highway Code
  • Confidence in using buses, trams and trains
  • Journey planning
  • How to use timetables and visual aids
  • Where to get help
  • Personal safety
  • Money skills

Previously, the ITT service helped pupils on an individual basis and came through direct referrals from schools, colleges, SEND Services and Futures.

Now, ITT is moving to a model of training-up schools and colleges so they can deliver the programme directly to students themselves – which will significantly increase the number of young people who benefit.

To mark the updated service coming in, a case study video has been produced which explains how ITT works and the benefits it provides. This is being launched tomorrow (Tuesday) at Woodlands Academy, in Aspley.

Councillor Sam Webster, Executive Councillor at Nottingham City Council, said: “With the recent development of our railway station into a transport hub, an extended world-class tram system, and a fantastic bus network that has two award-winning bus operators; Nottingham is one of the leading cities in the UK for public transport.

“Independent travel training is really important to make sure that these are accessible to everyone. It provides young people with tailored and practical help to move around our City safely by public transport, on foot or by bicycle to their school, college or work placement. It also supports young people socially, to access other key services and connect with friends and family.

“Being able to travel independently is an essential life skill. It helps to better prepare young people for adulthood, and for accessing further education and employment by raising their confidence in their abilities.

“We need more focus on this issue to ensure that young people with special and additional needs can gain independence and confidence. It’s important that schools and the Council work together to provide young people with the skills to move on successfully to their post-16 education or into work.”

Carol Barker, Head of School at Woodlands Academy which is part of the Raleigh Learning Trust, said: “To be able to travel by yourself without fear or risk of harm is a very empowering thing. It opens up our community, and our world, to young people – without this skill it would remain closed to them.

“Simple things like meeting friends, buying some new trainers or seeing a film become achievable. It fulfils the Raleigh Learning Trust’s ambition for all its pupils to be successful individuals who can live securely and happily within their respective communities, and whose skills can turn their ambitions into reality.”