YOUNG people with special educational needs in the borough are being helped to travel independently thanks to a road safety scheme.

Members of the Dudley Council-led road safety team support young people in Years 9 to 11 to travel on public transport independently.

Each pupil is given a trainer who joins them on their journey to and from school and then gradually reduces their time spent together until the young person is able to travel by themselves.

Sarah Mocroft's son Brad has benefitted from the scheme.

She explained: "It’s done absolute wonders for Brad. It’s given him that independence that you want your kids to have.

"He did a few months training in his last year at school, he’d meet his trainer and they’d get on the bus together, and gradually she’d back off and he’d be travelling more independently without realising.

"He picked it up really well and he loved being able to go to school on his own. He knows all the safe places he can got to ask for help if he gets lost, but he’s so capable now that he knows all his bus routes and can tell his mates which buses they need to catch."

She continued: "Now he’s 17 and at college he can go to college, come back and say ‘Mum, I’m off to Merry Hill’ and he’ll toddle off and I know he’s safe.

"I want him to be able to go off and meet up with his mates, but when your child’s got special educational needs it’s not that straight forward. The training has given him that confidence and independence.

"I wouldn’t have let him go off to Merry Hill on his own without the travel training, but now I know I can. It’s been absolutely brilliant, I’m so grateful for the support we’ve had and I am as proud as punch of Brad.”

Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member responsible for road safety said: "Independent travel training gives our young people the opportunity to gain the confidence and skills which allow them to take a step towards adulthood and independence.

"Our staff provide bespoke support, whether the student needs five or forty sessions, they will work with them until everyone is happy and confident for the young person to travel by themselves.

"I am proud of this scheme which helps young people like Brad on their path to independence.”