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All SEND services in County Durham are following government guidance set out by Gov.uk: Education, health and care needs assessments and plans: guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to coronavirus (COVID-19). See our Changes to special educational needs and disability services (SEND) for more information about some of the changes to our services.

School transport for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)


This page gives information about school transport for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

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When schools and colleges reopen for all pupils following the Coronavirus pandemic, we know how important it is that your child can get to and from school or college as safely as possible.

We are closely following government guidance and working with school transport providers and local bus companies to make this possible.

See our Getting to and from school page for more information.

Primary, secondary and special schools

Free travel is generally made available to allow children to attend the nearest suitable primary, secondary or special school, where the distance between home and school is:

  • over 2 miles for children aged under 8 years (but we will provide this up until the start of the academic year after the child's eighth birthday), or
  • more than 3 miles for children aged 8 to 16 years.

Children may be provided with transport to a qualifying school which is within the statutory walking distance.  All relevant circumstances in relation to the child and family will be taken into consideration as to whether the applicant child is an 'eligible child' under the relevant legislation.

In addition, for those children with an EHC Plan, free transport may also be made available in individual circumstances, in line with our duty to provide such transport, to other than the nearest suitable school as long as this is not incompatible with the efficient use of our resources.

Primary or secondary school with enhanced mainstream provision

We have some mainstream schools with enhanced provision for children and young people with particular types of special educational needs and disabilities. Details of those schools can be found on our Finding a school to suit your child's needs page.

Children and young people no longer require an EHC Plan to be considered for a place in one of those schools.

If we offer your child or young person a place in one of the enhanced mainstream provisions, free travel is generally available to the nearest suitable primary or secondary school with that type of provision and where the distance between home and school is:

  • over 2 miles for children aged under 8 years (but we will provide this up until the start of the academic year after the child's eighth birthday), or
  • more than 3 miles for children aged 8 to 16 years.

Children may be provided with transport to a qualifying school which is within the statutory walking distance.  All relevant circumstances in relation to the child and family will be taken into consideration as to whether the applicant child is an 'eligible child' under the relevant legislation.

In addition for those children with an EHC Plan, free transport may also be made available in individual circumstances, in line with our duty to provide such transport, to other than the nearest suitable school with that type of provision as long as this is not incompatible with the efficient use of our resources.

National extended transport rights  

For children eligible for free school meals or whose parents receive their maximum level of Working Tax Credit or any level of Universal Credit, national "extended" transport rights apply, please contact us for further information.

Contact us
School and College Transport
03000 264 444
Our address is:
  • School Places and Admissions Team
  • Children and Young People's Services
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UJ
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