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Changes following consultation

Following a consultation on changes to the home to school transport policy the executive members agreed to the following changes.

  1. To remove the discretionary provision of free home to school transport from pupils aged 8-11 who live between two and three miles from their normal/catchment or nearest school, to be implemented for new school starters from September 2016; and
  2. To remove the discretionary provision of free home to school transport for pupils who move house in years 10 and 11 and parents wish them to remain at the school at which they started their GCSE courses. To be phased in with effect from September 2015. 
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School - travel support

With effect from September 2016, free school transport will be provided to the catchment school or nearest school to your home address if it is over the statutory walking distances set out by law. This is:

  • Two miles for children under eight years of age;
  • Three miles for children aged over eight; or
  • where the route to the catchment or nearest school is not safe to walk accompanied by a responsible adult.

If the nearest catchment or nearest school is full, transport will be provided, in accordance with the authority's transport policy, to the nearest school with places available. 

The following categories of children from low income families (children entitled to free school meals or whose parent are in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit) are eligible for free home to school transport:

  • Children aged eight, but under the age of 11 who are attending their catchment or nearest school and the distance to that school is more than two miles;
  • Children in Years 7-11  who attend one of their three nearest secondary schools and the school is over two miles but less than six miles from where they live;
  • Children in Years 7-11 who attend the nearest denominational secondary school, where the distance is over two miles but less than 15 miles from home; or
  • Children aged five to eleven who attend the nearest denominational primary school, where the distance is more than two miles but less than five miles from home.

Eligibility will be assessed on an annual basis and may be withdrawn if parents' benefits change. For information about sources of financial support for young people aged over 16, visit www.gov.uk.

If your child attends a school which is not your catchment or nearest school you will normally be responsible for any associated transport costs for the duration of your child's time at that school.

In exceptional circumstances, free transport may be provided on a temporary basis however each case will be assessed on its own merits.

Free home to school transport enquiry form

Please read the frequently asked questions below if you think you are entitled to free transport. If you have a question you can make an enquiry below.

If your child is starting school or transferring to secondary school in September and you have applied for a school place then we will automatically assess your child's eligibility.

You should visit the post-16 travel assistance page or the paid travel permits page if you require an alternative pass.

Replacement permits

You can apply online for a replacement travel permit.

Type of transport provided

The mode of transport provided for eligible children will be either by:

  • school bus services;
  • local bus services; or
  • contracted vehicles (taxis).

In exceptional circumstances, allowances may be paid for parents to use their own transport. Children with specific mobility difficulties may be provided with specialist transport however, each case will be assessed on its own merit.

Transport to denominational schools

Existing arrangements for transporting pupils to denominational schools will change in:

  • 2016 for secondary aged pupils.
  • 2018 for primary aged pupils.

Where services are provided to denominational schools for pupils who are entitled to free home to school transport, there may be some availability for pupils who are not entitled under the policy to purchase a pass. However, this availability will be limited and will be sold on a first come first served basis under the paid travel permit terms and conditions.

The exception to this is children from low income families (children entitled to free school meals or whose parents are in receipt of the maximum level of working tax credit) who will still be eligible for free home to denominational school transport as follows:

  • Children in years 7-11 who attend the nearest denominational secondary school, where the distance is over two miles but less than 15 miles from home.
  • Children aged five to eleven who attend the nearest denominational primary school, where the distance is more than two miles but less than five miles from home. 
  • Where the denominational school is the nearest school to the child's home address and is over the statutory walking distances.

This will be assessed on an annual basis and may be withdrawn if parents' benefits change.

Transport to residential schools

If your child attends a residential special school, free transport or a transport allowance will be provided at mid and full term holidays. For post-16 pupils placed by the local authority at a residential school or college outside of the further and higher education sectors the help offered will be up to 12 return journeys a year for students and their parents or carers usually at a pre-determined mileage rate.

Discretionary transport

In some cases assistance may be provided for ineligible children if there are spare seats available on existing school buses however, parents will be expected to pay a contribution towards costs.

Distance measurements

When deciding on eligibility for assistance with transport, the measurement from home to school will be taken from the boundary of the home to the nearest entrance gate (not always the main entrance) to the school following the nearest available walked route which can mean a suitable footpath or bridle-path. Where a private road or farm track exists this is included in the measurement. This means that in some cases pupils living in the same street or even in adjoining properties may not all be eligible for free home to school transport.

When deciding on eligibility for children in receipt of free school meals or if parents receive their maximum level of working tax credit, routes of two miles or less will be measured as a walked route, using footpaths or bridle ways. Routes over two miles will be measured along road routes. This only applies to children if they are in receipt of free school meals or if parents receive their maximum level of working tax credit.

The term 'home' in this policy means the permanent address where the child lives for most of the time. Where children have more than one 'home' (i.e. parents or guardians live separately) eligibility will only be assessed from separate addresses when children live with each parent or guardian for 50 per cent of the school term time, this does not include weekends or holidays.

Routes from home to school are regularly reviewed by the local authority to incorporate newly identified routes into the electronic mapping system used for measuring. If a route from home to school is re-measured and found to be under the qualifying distance, free home to school transport will be withdrawn with a full terms notice. 

Safety

All the vehicles used subject to regular inspections and the drivers and assistants all have the relevant clearance to work with children. The authority takes all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of pupils using the vehicles. For their part, pupils are expected to behave whilst travelling and wear a seatbelt, where fitted. Parents' are reminded they are solely responsible for the safety of their children both before they board and after disembarking the vehicle and for ensuring their children get to and from the nearest pickup point on time. 

Appealing for home to school transport

  • Stage 1 - if your child is not entitled to free home to school transport however you feel there are circumstances which should be considered, and providing you submit supporting evidence, a senior officer will review your case. If we are still unable to award transport you will be notified of this decision. 
  • Stage 2 - you may appeal against our decision. Each case will be considered individually by the appeals committee which consists of four County Council members. For further information please contact the admission, transport and welfare team.

pdf icon More information on the appeal process can be seen here [202kb].

Special educational needs

Children and young people with special educational needs may get help with transport to school or college. Visit the special educational needs page for more information.

School transport timetables

Visit the timetable information page to search for up-to-date timetable information. Timetable information is available for bus services only, you will need to contact the relevant operator for more details about taxi services.

This page was last updated on 19 August 2016