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Home to school travel assistance for primary school children

This page gives you information about home to school travel assistance for children attending primary school.

If you would like to apply for your child to get home to school travel assistance, you need to apply by Sunday 30 June 2024.

Applications received after this date may not be considered in time for the start of the 2024/25 academic year (September 2024).

Check if your child qualifies

Applications based on distance

Once your child starts reception then they will be able to get home to school travel assistance if they meet the following criteria:

  • they attend their nearest suitable school
  • that school is over two miles away from your home and they are under 8 years old
  • or, that school is over three miles away from your home if they are 8 years old and over

If your school or academy operates on two sites, the distance will be based on the nearest site to you.

We have agreed that the three-mile rule will not apply on your child's eighth birthday, but will be brought in from the start of the academic year after they turn eight (usually from the start of Year 4).

How we work out distances

To work out the distance from your home to your school, we use a Geographic Information System (GIS). This tells us what the shortest route is, using only the nationally recognised Ordnance Survey Integrated Transport Network (ITN) and Urban Paths Network (UPN). We will not include any other routes or use any other method of measurement.

Applications based on income

You may be able to get home to school travel assistance based on the amount you earn.

If you or your child meets the following criteria, then you can apply:

  • your child is aged between 8 and 11 years old and they are eligible for free school meals
  • you get the maximum level of Working Tax Credit 

You will need to provide your most recent full Working Tax Credit Award Notice (pages 1-8, the Working Tax Credit Element of the Working Tax Credit Summary must indicate "reduction due to your income is £0.00").

If you meet the criteria above then you will get travel assistance from your home to the nearest suitable school, so long as the school is more than two miles from where you live.

What we offer

If your application is successful, we will provide your child with one of the following:

  • a bus pass
  • transport from your home, or a collection point close by, with other children in a coach or minibus, or in some cases, in a taxi
  • money to help you pay towards transport that you arrange for your child

The type of transport you get is chosen by us and our decision is based on your child's needs and the most cost-effective form of transport available.

How and when to apply

If your child has been offered a school place or has already started school and you meet the criteria set out above, you should apply for travel assistance by Sunday 30 June 2024.

If you apply after this date, we cannot guarantee your travel assistance will be in place for the start of the 2024/25 academic year.


What happens next

This is how long it takes for us to process different types of applications:

  • In-year: If you need travel assistance quickly for the current academic year, it usually takes about two weeks from when you submit your application.
  • Next academic year: If you're applying for travel assistance for the start of the next academic year (September 2024), it can take up to eight weeks for us to process your application, but often it's done sooner.

We will let you know if you are eligible and when you can expect to find out what kind of travel assistance we will be putting in place.

What happens if you do not qualify

If there are any spare seats on a school bus, these can be sold to children who are not entitled to home to school travel assistance. This is called concessionary travel. Full details of the concessionary travel scheme, including bus routes available, how to apply, how seats are allocated and how to pay, are available on our apply for a spare seat on school transport page.

How to appeal

If we do not award free home to school transport to your child, you can request a review of our decision in writing within 20 days of the receipt of the decision letter. You will need to send any additional supporting evidence with the request. Each case will be considered individually.

See our Ask for a Transport Case Review page.

Behaviour on home to school transport

We expect good behaviour from children when using the school transport we provide. When you apply for home to school transport for your child, you are required to sign a declaration stating that you agree to uphold good behaviour. Parents have a key role to play and you are responsible for the conduct of your children. See the information leaflets on our Behaviour on home to school/college transport page. 

Further information

Full details of home to school travel assistance are available on our School transport policies and strategies page. 

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