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Despite the fact that the previous model regulation was drawn up in collaboration with municipalities, the VNG has received critical questions from municipal employees in recent years.

The recently amended VNG Model Regulation on student transport entails subtle but important changes for municipalities in the Netherlands. The update, which replaces the December 2020 version, places new emphasis on adapted transport and the promotion of self-reliance among students with disabilities.

The regulation now contains a more detailed description of 'adaptive transport'. This includes any type of transport that is specially organized by the municipality for children who cannot use public transport independently due to their disability. This includes a wide range of options, from reimbursements for bicycle transport to the provision of specially adapted vehicles.

A striking new element within the regulation is the introduction of the 'personal transport development plan'. This plan can be drawn up by the college for students who reach the age of nine. The goal of this plan is to help these students develop the skills needed to travel independently as much as possible. This marks a significant shift towards encouraging independence in these young people.

The VNG Model Regulation on the Funding of Student Transport of December 2020 will be replaced by a new version, the VNG Model Regulation on Student Transport. This replacement has a number of limited consequences for policy and implementation at municipalities.

It is also stated in the new regulation strong emphasis on cost-effectiveness. The municipality looks for the cheapest suitable transport option that meets the needs of the student. The decisions about this are made based on the individual situation of each student, which means that customization is central to the municipality's approach.

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riding a bike
From bicycle allowance to adapted van, municipalities are innovating student transport.

However, the implementation of the regulation is not without challenges. It requires close cooperation and clear communication between municipal departments, schools and parents. This is crucial to ensure that every student receives the support they need.

In addition, the municipality has streamlined the process for applying for transportation facilities. Applications can be submitted both digitally and on paper, with the council being tasked with making a decision within eight weeks of receiving a complete application. This period can be extended by another four weeks if necessary.

Furthermore, clear guidelines for assessing distance and route to the nearest accessible school ensure that transport is both cost-efficient and accessible. This attempts to improve the mobility of students with special needs and make inclusive education more accessible.

This policy illustrates the continued efforts of Dutch municipalities to guarantee equal educational opportunities for all students, regardless of their physical or cognitive limitations. It shows a clear progress in thinking about education and mobility, aimed at the integration and independence of young people with special needs.

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