Free school travel assistance (4 to 16 year olds)
Check to see if you can get free school travel assistance based on the eligibility criteria.
In most cases eligible children will be provided with a bus pass for home to school transport. In some cases other transport methods (public bus, taxi) may be provided.
How your child can get free school travel assistance
There are 4 ways your child may be able to get free travel assistance to school, including if:
The council will provide or arrange free travel arrangements either by dedicated vehicle or bus pass for:
- a child under 8, where the walking distance is more than 2 miles from home to school
- a child aged 8 to 16, where the walking distance is more than 3 miles from home to the school
- a child where the route has been assessed as unacceptable to walk according to the council’s published criterion
See Appendix A of the Home to School Transport policy below.
Policy changes have been made due to recommendations received by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) for a recent complaint investigation. The Local Authority have made the changes to ensure that they abide by the LGSCO outcome.
If you have chosen a school place for your child that is not their nearest suitable or linked school, you will be responsible for the cost of your child's transport to and from school.
The definition of low income is a household annual income of £16,190 or below.
Your child must:
- be of school age
- attend their nearest suitable or linked school
- receive free school meals or you receive the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit
As well as either of the following:
- Children aged 8 to 10 - the distance from home to their school is more than 2 miles on the shortest available walking route
- Children aged 11 to 16 - the distance from home to school is between 2 and 6 miles (this is increased to 15 miles if they can demonstrate that they have gained a place at a school because of their or their family's religion or belief)
If eligibility for free school meals or maximum level Working Tax Credit ceases, then free travel assistance will be withdrawn at the end of the academic year.
Find out more about special educational needs school travel assistance.
Where a student qualifies on grounds of low income and also has a learning difficulty or disability which necessitates transport assistance, then transport will be provided free of charge.
You can read in greater detail about how this criteria applies on our post-16 transport page.
If you have moved home you will need to reapply for travel assistance, this will be reviewed and a decision made in the usual way.
If you are in receipt of benefits, you will be required to upload documentary evidence. Please ensure you have this before completing the online form.
Policy changes made due to recommendations received by the LGSCO for a recent complaint investigation. The Local Authority have made the changes to ensure that they abide by the LGSCO outcome.
See our code of conduct and code of conduct for SEND students.
Apply for travel assistance with an EHC plan (4 to 16 years old).
Our School Transport team will review your application and make a decision based on the information you have supplied.
If you meet the criteria for travel assistance you will be sent a letter with the details of your route, but if you do not meet the criteria you will be told and given the option to apply for non-entitled (paid for) school travel assistance.
Appeal against a free school transport decision
If an application for free transport and assistance is declined, parents may appeal by submitting a form to escalate the matter to a Stage One Appeal.
Find out more about the appeals process.
Last updated 01 November 2022