Parents and carers are responsible for ensuring their child gets to and from school. However in certain circumstances your child may qualify for free transport to school.
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.
Does my child qualify for free home to school transport?
Your child may be able to get free transport to school if:
The council will provide or arrange free travel arrangements either by dedicated vehicle or bus pass for the following children:
- for a child under 8, where the walking distance is more than 2 miles from home to school
- for a child aged 8 to 16, where the walking distance is more than 3 miles from home to the school
- for 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 (PDF 258KB)
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 nearest suitable school includes single sex and faith schools.
If you're on a low income your child may be able to get free transport to school if all the following criteria are met.
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If eligibility for free school meals or maximum level Working Tax Credit ceases, then free transport will be withdrawn at the end of the academic year.
Where a pupil has a permanent or temporary disability so that they cannot walk even short distances to school, the council will make suitable travel arrangements for the duration of that disability.
Travel arrangements will be agreed for pupils with an education, health and care (EHC) plan or a statement of SEN where:
- the pupil lives further than the statutory distance between home and school
- The local authority has determined the name of the school and type of provision and this meets the criteria for distances above
- A pupil has a statement of SEN or EHC plan for a severe medical or physical condition and there is detailed written advice from appropriate medical personnel.
Travel arrangements will not be allocated where:
- the pupil is not attending their local mainstream school, or the nearest suitable special provision, and the school is one of parental preference
Please ensure you have reviewed the SEND area of the Home to school transport policy before applying.
Parents or carers of children who move house during their schooling to an area where another school is the nearest suitable or linked school may either:
- apply to move their child to the nearest suitable or linked school for their new address and if successful the policy stated above will apply.
- retain the child's place at their current school but they will become responsible for the child's transport provision and costs.
If there are no places available at schools nearer to the new home address than the current school, then the council will provide free travel arrangements to the current school.
Some help may be available in other exceptional circumstances, where, for example, the pupil concerned would otherwise be at risk of harm. Each case will be considered on its own merits. Please refer to the 'Home to school transport policy' for full terms and conditions:
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.
Can my child use a school bus if they do not qualify?
Children who do not qualify for free home to school transport may still be able to use the school transport if:
- they pay for it
- there is spare capacity on that service
Spare spaces will be offered on a first come, first served basis.
How to apply for a school bus pass
You will need to complete an application form:
Apply for a bus pass
Can I appeal against a free school transport decision?
If an application for free transport and assistance is declined, parents may appeal by submitting a written request to escalate the matter to a Stage One Appeal.