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SEND and transport in the Isles of Scilly

Living 28 miles off the mainland and having 5 inhabited Islands poses challenging transport logistics for people living on the islands. Being a child or young person with SEND can also bring its own challenges with travel that the Local Authority offer support with.

The Council for the Isles of Scilly has a home to school transport policy that gives you information on travel arrangements for transport for educational age and includes:

  • The circumstances and support the Council for the Isles of Scilly provide for home to school transport

  • Off Island school transport

  • School escorts

  • Children and young people with SEND and support with transport

  • Early years education (3-5 year olds) and transport

  • Criteria/eligibility for a travel allowance

  • Exceptional circumstances

  • Transport for exceptional medical reasons relating to parent/carers

  • Procedure for applying for a home to school travel allowance

  • Complaints procedure


The Council also has a separate Post 16 transport policy which covers information on financial support for young people accessing further education on the mainland. It also includes additional information on support for young people with SEND. You can also view more details on funding for transport and boarding accommodation Post 16 by reading the Isles of Scilly Post 16 Information Guidance and Post 16 Transport policy available on the Council of the Isles of Scilly website:


Buzza Bus

Transport Access People (TAP) is community transport that provides a safely coordinated, cost effective community transport service throughout Cornwall, Devon and the Isles of Scilly.


TAP is a subsidiary of AGE UK Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly.  They arrange transport for people who have non-emergency healthcare appointments and have difficulty accessing other forms of public transport.  Buzza Bus a special dial-a-ride service on St. Mary's that has mobility/wheelchair access.  This service can be used by children and young people with mobility difficulties.

You will need to register first by calling 01872 266 887 and then you will be able to contact the driver on the mobile number 07810 747369. To find out further details please visit the Council of the Isles of Scilly website: The bus is accessible with steps and handrail and is suitable for wheelchair transport. (Please give sufficient notice when booking for this, as seats need to be removed). The driver is happy to assist you to and from door to bus and to help with seat belts where necessary.

Concessionary Travel Pass and Inter Island Travel

If you live off Island and your child or young person meets the criteria for the disability eligibility then they may be entitled to concessionary boat fare. This is 52 single fare vouchers. In addition, four Health Special Passes are issued for reaching health appointments outside standard boating times.  You must get confirmation that you meet eligibility before booking travel and concessions are restricted to certain boats.  

Currently there are a number of boat service operators offering trips between the inhabited islands: 

St Mary’s boating Association: Tel:  01720 423 999 email: 

Tresco boat services: Tel:  01720 422 849 email:

St Agnes Boating: Tel:  01720 422 704 email:

Falcon Boating: Tel:  07841 368 987 email:

Raptor Boating:  Tel:  07729  127877 email:

If you have any accessibility needs because of any SEN and disabilities then it is best to contact the boat operators directly to see how they can be of assistance.

National Bus Pass

Although the Isles of Scilly Council doesn’t run a ‘local’ bus and the community bus won’t accept bus passes you can use a national bus pass when visiting the mainland. If you meet the ‘eligible disabled’ criteria then you may apply for a National Bus Pass. Find out more on the Council of the Isles of Scilly website: 


Eligible disabled Criteria

The ’eligible disabled’ criteria for a National Bus Pass and Concessionary Boat travel means you are: blind or partially sighted; profoundly or severely deaf; without speech; have a disability, or have suffered an injury, which has a substantial and long-term effect on your ability to walk; don’t have arms or have long-term loss of the use of both arms; have a learning disability. You are also ‘eligible disabled’ if your application for a driving licence would be refused under section 92 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (physical fitness). However, you won’t be eligible if you were refused because of persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol.  


Blue Badge

A blue badge (Disabled Person’s Parking) is a national scheme for disabled people, it allows concessions and privileges in relation to parking.  For example a disabled person able to park nearer to their destinations and allows holders to park without charge or time limit in otherwise restricted areas. You can find out more about eligibility criteria and how to apply for a blue badge on the Council of the Isles of Scilly website: 

Note that people with Autism may also qualify  for a blue badge the National Autistic Society has further information about driving:

Motability Scheme

Motability is a national charity which oversees the motability scheme and may be able to provide charitable grants to disabled people who would otherwise be unable to afford the vehicle, adaptation or driving lessons. The Motability Scheme can help you lease a car if your child is aged 3 or over and is entitled to either the:

Higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance 

Enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment


More information about the scheme is on the Motability website:

You can also contact them via:

The Motability Scheme

Telephone: 0300 456 4566 

Textphone: 0300 037 0100 

Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm 

Saturday, 9am to 1pm

Side Note: People with a disability do not have to pay VAT on having a vehicle adapted to suit their condition, or on the lease of a Motability vehicle. For more information go to the Revenue & Customs site. HMRC does not require a disabled person to be receiving PIP to qualify - HMRC's has their own form to fill in where the applicant will just have to state that they have a disability.

Young people may also be able to get financial help for learning to drive and adaptations from charity sources or through local social services.  Contact Children and Family services on or telephone on 01720 424 490 or visit the GOV.UK website: Access to Work scheme.

Cornwall Mobility can offer advice, assessments and adaptations for transport and at home. To find out more visit the Cornwall Mobility website:


Beach Wheel Chair Access

In partnership with Mobility Cornwall we have an all-terrain wheelchair also known as a sand chair for the Isles of Scilly that can be hired out as well as other outlets throughout Cornwall. To find out more you can visit Cornwall mobility website: 

or view map (PDF): beach_wheelchairs_in_cornwall.pdf


The Isles of Scilly Travel

You can get to and from the Isles of Scilly either by plane or boat. Both services are run by Isles of Scilly Travel and on their website you can find out more about their accessibility services:


Penzance Heliport

From March 2020 you can get to the Isles of Scilly from Penzance by helicopter. They are currently building their new heliport and developing their website where more information on their accessibility service should become available. To find out about their accessibility at the moment visit the FAQs on their website:


Travel in Cornwall

For information about travelling in Cornwall, the Support in Cornwall website Local Offer pages have useful information about travelling.



Further mobility support Services

Cornwall Mobility

Cornwall Wheelchair Service

Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs are offering free assistive technology for children with a visual impairment aged 3-18.

Guide Dogs Tech for All Service will provide iPads to visually impaired children aged 3-18, while children aged 11-18 may choose an iPhone instead. The devices have excellent features built-in, and they'll provide online guides and tutorials to help get started. The devices are free of charge. The only requirement is proof of vision impairment. More information can be found at Assistive technology for visually impaired children | Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs Children and Young People's Service

Guide Dogs Children and Young People's Service provide an information and advice service that can help with family support, education support, technology grants and sensory toys. Their My Life Skills is a service designed to help children and young people navigate the world around them, thereby building their confidence and independence. Their other services include My Time to Play (0-4 years), CustomEyes Books, Family Events, and Buddy Dogs.


Whizz Kids

SEND Transport in Scilly
NHS Medical Travel


If you are an Isles of Scilly resident and have a medical appointment on the mainland then you can book your travel through the NHS centralised booking service. Special arrangements are in place for residents of the Isles of Scilly who only have to pay £5 towards the cost of NHS funded patient transport to the mainland, please note that you are required to meet eligibility criteria.

Travel to the mainland can be either by boat or air transport. You will need to cover other travel costs from this point and air transport is only be available to Land’s End airport. You will need to book your travel from the airport and if you are using the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company Shuttle bus pay for this service.

Please note that this is for appointments only where you have been referred, known as secondary care.  In most cases you will have received an appointment letter and will need to provide information about your appointment when booking your travel.  It is helpful if you have considered your travel plans before contacting the Patient Transport office by checking availability of flights and whether you are able to get to your appointment and back in a day.

For further information visit the NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly website:

Off islands

Residents of the off islands are entitled to the off island element when travelling to the mainland for NHS funded treatment.  Patients will be issued with a reference number for the off island element of their travel when they call the Centralised Booking Service at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust on 01872 252211.  Patients travelling to the mainland and back in the same day will be entitled to the reimbursement of either a Scheduled boat fare or a Special boat fare dependant on the time of their travel.  Please note that a reference code is required before booking boat travel.

Eligibility and exclusions

For information on eligibility and exclusions please see page 11 onwards of NHS Kernow Non-emergency medical travel policy document:

Escorts for children under 16 years of age

Escorts for medical travel is based on strict criteria and only one relative escort is permitted for children under 16 years. 

Please see the NHS Kernow Non-emergency medical travel policy document for guidance:


For the return journey
  • Patients attending for NHS funded services not requiring an inpatient stay must book their return travel at the same time as their outbound travel.   

  • Patients travelling with an escort are required to complete their return journey within 72 hours of their outbound journey.  Please note that the 72 hour calculation does not include Sundays as flights and sailings do not operate. 

  • Where a patient cannot book their return travel due to being an inpatient with an unknown discharge date, they, or their representative, should  telephone the Centralised Booking Service at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust on 01872 252211 as soon as the discharge date is known. 


Adverse weather conditions

If a patient (and escort where applicable) is not able to undertake the inbound leg (Mainland to Isles of Scilly) of their NHS funded patient transport journey, due to weather conditions, accommodation costs on the mainland are not paid.  Local arrangements have been put in place with Volunteer Cornwall for assistance with transport and accommodation should any vulnerable patient get stranded on the mainland.  Volunteer Cornwall can be contacted for this purpose via the Centralised Booking Service at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust on 01872 252211.  The costs for these services will be borne by the patient. 


Help with NHS Travel Costs

If you are on a low income or in receipt of certain benefits there may be help with medical travel under the NHS Help with Healthcare Costs.  This helps with the cost of a number of services including travel costs under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS).

For more information on HTCS

Community Transport Schemes

St Mary’s has Buzza Bus and a volunteer car service.  

To register with Buzza Bus please contact Age UK Tel:  01872 266886

Contact St Mary’s Health Centre to book volunteer car service Tel:  01720 422628


Mainland TAP and Volunteer Cornwall community transport

TAP is provided by Age UK Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  TAP provides a service to get to non-emergency healthcare appointments for people who have difficulty accessing other forms of public transport. Appointments such as hospital, optician, dental, foot care or audiology. They can advise on what transport is available; sharing journeys & the cost; identify whole journey costs, book and coordinate the service.  For further information and cost visit the Age UK website: 


Tel:  01872 223388

Volunteer Cornwall have a volunteer car service with a team of transport co-ordinators who will match you with a volunteer driver and will arrange for them to pick you up in good time.  For further information and cost visit the Volunteer Cornwall website: 

Tel: 01872 265 300



RCHT Patient Transport Office: 01872  252211  Select option 2 for Isles of Scilly residents

Note: Option 2 is available for Isles of Scilly residents Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm and 1.30pm

The main number is open 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday  9.30 – 5pm Saturday and Sunday.


Further information

NHS Cornwall & Isles of Scilly:

NHS Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Non-emergency medical travel policy:

Isles Of Scilly Travel NHS Bookings

NHS Help with healthcare costs:

Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)


Age UK


Volunteer Cornwall


Transport for Cornwall

For information about travel around Cornwall with links to travel operators.



Travel Line South West

For information about travel around the South West, Travel Line has an app and website with lots of information and routes when using public transport.


NHS Medical Travel
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