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Post-16 travel assistance

Post-16 Transport proposed changes

We have recently consulted on proposed changes to its Post 16 Transport including an increase in the contribution required by parents up to £1,000. Details of the proposed changes can be found here

The proposals will be considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 7 May and if agreed, the proposed changes will apply from the new academic year. 

If you're a student over the age of 16 in full time education, we may be able to provide assistance with transport.

You may qualify for school travel assistance if you are:

  • aged 16 to 18
  • in full time-education (12 hours or more a week)
  • living more than 3 miles away from your nearest school or further education establishment


All students who are entitled to school travel assistance will need to contribute £600 a year towards the costs of their transport.

Charges apply to all students whether they are attending mainstream, special or specialist post-16 education provisions, independent schools or further education colleges and other suitable training establishments.


The only exceptions are if:

Parents or carers in receipt of one of the following will qualify as low income:

  • Income Support
  • child entitled to free school meals
  • Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income as assessed by the Inland Revenue that does not exceed £16,190
  • guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit

For 16 to 18 year olds meeting these criteria, the cost is £300 a year.

The cost will be free of charge where parents or carers of a 16 to 18 year old student qualify on the grounds of low income (as listed above) and the young person:

  • has an education, health and care (EHC) plan which necessitates travel assistance
  • is attending their nearest suitable further education setting which is named in the EHC
  • lives within the administrative boundary of Northamptonshire and more than 3 miles from their nearest suitable educational establishment

We will, in the first instance, explore whether a parent or carer will provide transport and be remunerated for their fuel costs, if the student is eligible.

Free travel assistance will be provided to a young adult learner (not being a person of sixth form age) where:

  • the local authority has secured the provision of education or training and the provision of boarding accommodation for an adult learner aged under 25
  • they are subject to an EHC plan
  • it is considered necessary to facilitate that person’s attendance at the place of education or training

This policy does not relate to young adults who are not in education or training and who do not have an education, health and care plan. Information about transport provision for other young adults can be obtained from Adult Social Services.

We continue to encourage the participation in education and training by those over compulsory school age but under 19 and those aged 19 to 25 with an EHC plan. However, young adult learners would be expected to meet the cost of travel between home and the provider at which they are receiving education or training except in the circumstances as above.

How to apply

We will only transport to educational settings at the beginning and end of a typical academic day.

If you are applying for travel assistance for a student with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), please complete the following form:

Read the travel assistance code of conduct.

West Northamptonshire Council will guarantee a seat on one of our existing contracted transport services for a student where an application is received on or before the 3 Friday in May prior to the September of that academic year.

Guaranteed seats will not be available for applications received after that time, and will then be subject to availability which will be considered once all statutory students have been allocated. Please note that this may not be processed until the October half term and parents will be responsible for taking their child alongside any associated costs.

In submitting an application form by the aforementioned date, parents/legal guardians will be committing to purchasing a seat for the full academic year at a cost of £600. Regrettably discounts, of any kind, will not be available if transport is used for only part of the year (i.e. passed their driving test etc.).

Only in circumstances where a family moves home and transport is no longer required will consideration be given to refunding the remaining full school terms of transport costs, if the yearly payment option has been chosen. If you opt to pay monthly, the refund will be based on the amount paid to date as well as the term in which transport ceases.

Applications which are not required prior to the commencement of the academic year to which it refers, must be cancelled by emailing [email protected] as soon as possible. However, if we have already dispatched a bus pass, you will be liable for any costs until it is returned and received in the Post 16 Travel Scheme office along with a covering letter.

Where transport is no longer required after the academic year has commenced, you must notify us in writing, specifying the reason for the cancellation and the last date of travel; where a bus pass has been issued, this must accompany the letter.

Read more about cancelling applications.

It is important to remember that until we receive the letter of cancellation, and where applicable, the bus pass, you will still be liable for any costs incurred.

If the school issue their own bus passes, please state this on the letter of cancellation so that we can notify the school’s administration department accordingly. Consideration should be given to returning the bus pass by recorded/signed for post.

Your application is assessed on the address and educational establishment on the form. Should you move address or educational establishment we will require a new form so we may reassess your application and there is no guarantee of transport arrangements being able to be rearranged. Should this be the case then it will be the parents’/legal guardians’ responsibility for transport provision and costs incurred.

To qualify for transport you will need to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria set out below.


The scheme is available for students who:

  • are over 16 years of age on or before the 31 August of that year, but under 19 years of age on or before the 31 August of that year
  • live more than 3 miles walking distance from their designated or nearest school, college or training establishment and
  • attending on a full time basis (12 hours or more per week)

Students who qualify on grounds of low income

The contribution of £600 will be reduced by 50% (£300) for students whose parents’/legal guardians’ are in receipt of any of the following benefits:

  • are on Income Support
  • are on Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999
  • are on Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income, as assessed by the Inland Revenue, that does not exceed £16,190 guaranteed element of state pension credit
  • entitled to free school meals
  • families in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit will also be entitled to financial support - (If you are receiving the maximum level of Working Tax Credit, your documentation will show £0.00 for “Reduction due to your income” as shown in the working tax credit elements example below)
  • are on Employment and Support Allowance (Income-Related)
  • are on Universal Credit
Working Tax Credit elementsAmount
Basic from 06/04 to 05/04 the following year (1 year)£1111.11
Total Working Tax Credit elements (other than childcare)£1111.11
Reduction due to your income£ 0.00
Amount for the period£1111.11

Current and Full original documentary evidence i.e. all pages of your benefit documentation must be provided in all cases and should accompany the application form. These documents will then be returned. The regulations stipulate that the parents/legal guardians of children who qualify on grounds of low income are obliged to notify this office immediately if their benefits change or cease.

If you are on low income or in receipt of free school meals, you may be entitled to bursary funding which is available from the establishment attended. Please note that this is not administered in this office.

How the scheme works

West Northamptonshire Council will withhold any application where there is an outstanding debt in relation to the pupil or their siblings until the account is cleared in full.

NB. Please also be aware that non-payment of an invoice will result in a debt collection agency being notified to recover any monies which remain outstanding.

If your application is successful, you will receive an invoice prior to the start of the academic year, if you have applied by the deadline for guaranteed transport, for £600 if the yearly payment option has been chosen, or on a monthly basis over a six month period where the monthly payment option has been selected. Payments should be made within 28 days as specified on the invoice.

The Council reserves the right to withdraw the entitlement to travel where invoices are not paid on time and or the misuse of the travel facilities or bus pass. In these circumstances West Northamptonshire Council will have the right to recover any costs it has incurred as a result of the afore-mentioned misuse. Acceptance of the transport indicates that you accept the “Code of Conduct” and where applicable, the “Conditions of Use” printed on the reverse of the bus pass. Any misuse of the “Code of Conduct” and or “Conditions” e.g. misbehaviour etc. could render the transport invalid and no refund will be given.

Parents/Legal Guardians and students are required to read and adhere to the “Code of Conduct”.

Applications received after the third Friday in May of that academic year are hereby known as non-guaranteed seats. If your child is allocated a non-guaranteed seat under the scheme, we must inform you that, should a new application by a statutory entitled pupil be received, it may be necessary to withdraw the offer of the non-guaranteed seat that your child occupies giving you up to 14 days’ notice in writing. A pro rata refund of any fees paid would then be given and you would be required to make alternative transport arrangements.

Payment information

An invoice will be issued to all successful applicants and this will detail the methods of payment on the reverse. If you have any queries regarding payment options please email [email protected] providing your name, phone number and query and we will endeavour to contact you as soon as possible.

Late payment interest

As appropriate, and in accordance with the “Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Interest) Act 1998”, the Council reserves the right to levy a charge for interest and compensation for late payment of commercial invoices.

Additional information

There are occasions when Northamptonshire Highways Operational Team, or external operators need to cancel transport e.g. adverse weather, issues involving internal recourses i.e. passenger assistants/drivers/vehicles. Every effort is made to ensure this does not happen but should it be unavoidable it is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to transport the student to and from education and there will be no reimbursement for costs incurred. Every effort is made to restore the transport arrangements as soon as possible.

Please be aware that should transport no longer be required for qualifying statutory age students, current journeys will be cancelled as a consequence, under these circumstances, the processing of the application may be delayed until the statutory transport requirements are confirmed.

If you have a query about the bus pass issued or you have a concern about the service being provided, please email [email protected].

If you require a replacement pass you can apply online.

Other transport support for post-16 students

We will also take receipt of 16 to 19 bursary funding into account in assessing an individual’s need for financial help with transport.

Where a person receives a benefit to facilitate their mobility needs (e.g. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance, where this includes the higher rate mobility element) we may explore whether this can be used to support their transport needs to and from education or training for which a mileage rate will be paid.

Each case will be considered on its own merits.

We are working together with key partners to enable access to further education and training courses for 16 to 18 year olds. The following colleges offer support:

Northampton College

Northampton College sell subsidised bus passes where a student is eligible (under 19, more than 3 miles from site of study, on a full-time course).

Students can apply to the bursary for transport support where there is a household income below £26,000 or income based benefits.

They also sell stagecoach bus passes for use on public bus services.

Email: [email protected]

Moulton College

Moulton College operates a comprehensive subsidised transport network throughout Northamptonshire, allowing students access to the main college and all of its out centres.


If an application for free travel 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 19 April 2024