ATSO responsibilities

Assisted Travel Support Officers (ATSOs) play a vital role in ensuring the safe transport of students to and from school.

Most students with a disability travel successfully on buses and in taxis without the need for an ATSO.

Students with complex health and/or behaviour needs require the services of an ATSO to ensure their safe travel to and from school.

Key accountabilities

An ATSO's role includes assisting schools and contractors/drivers in:

  • providing additional supervision for students when accessing and travelling in contracted vehicles
  • liaising with school principals in regards to specific student requirements and behaviour management plans
  • supporting students with assistive equipment.

ATSOs are expected to:

  • abide by the department's child protection, code of conduct policies and any infectious control requirements
  • maintain a courteous and respectful relationship with students, drivers, contractors, parents, schools and ASTP staff
  • ensure the safety of all students throughout the journey
  • sit in close proximity as practical to the student(s) being supported or follow the recommended seating plan
  • ensure you have a copy of the student's travel support plan from the school and follow the strategies listed
  • seek assistance from the school with support strategies
  • inform the school and the ASTP of any significant student behaviour, incidents or issues that occur whilst transporting students in their care
  • liaise with drivers and contractors about pick-up times, locations and day-to-day transport operations including absentee notices
  • be punctual and reliable in ensuring students get to and from school
  • not enter into private arrangements with parents.

Working in partnership with the school, parents, contractors and drivers

ATSOs work in partnership with the school, parents, contractors and drivers to provide a high level of supervision for students when on transport.

ATSOs should contact the school principal and ASTP with any concerns regarding students or school procedures.

Schools should:

  • in partnership with families, assess a student's travel support needs and apply to ASTP for an ATSO when needed.
  • develop individual student travel support plans as required. They provide ongoing support for drivers and ASTOs regarding the specific needs of students.
  • must ensure students are safely seated with seatbelts fastened. School staff meet transport to provide a safe entry and exit for students.
  • wait at the agreed safe drop-off and pick-up location at the school to meet the vehicle

Learn more about the role schools play in assessing and supporting the safe travel needs of students to and from school.

Parents are required to:

  • be ready 15 minutes before the pick-up and drop-off time
  • wait at the agreed safe pick-up and drop-off location outside the home to meet the vehicle
  • ensure their child is safely seated with seatbelts fastened
  • provide any equipment required for safe travel as specified in the student's travel plan.

Parents are encouraged to communicate the specific needs of their child to appropriate travel staff and to notify the contractor if their child is not attending school on a particular day.

Find out more about parent responsibilities.

Contractors should:
  • recruit and employ or subcontract suitably qualified drivers, including relief drivers, when providing transport services to the ASTP
  • have a knowledge of disability services and understanding the needs of people with disability
  • issue vests to ATSOs as needed
  • confirm with the Department the suitability of the ATSO and specific training before the commencement of service
  • establish and maintain good working relationships with a variety of stakeholders

Find out more about contractor responsibilities.

Drivers should:

  • ensure vehicles are roadworthy and clean
  • follow a run card
  • carry driver identification at all times
  • work collaboratively with ATSOs to manage students on transport.

In the event of an emergency, all people in the vehicle must:

To ensure child protection, if the nominated adult is not at home at the time of drop off, drivers will contact the ASTP.

In the event of a 'home alone' drivers will return the student to school or take them to the nearest office of the Department of Family and Community Services, or to the police.

Find out how to apply to be an ATSO.


  • Student Support and Specialist Programs

Business Unit:

  • Student Support and Specialist Programs
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