Will you qualify?

Eligibility process

Before you apply for a school place, you need to consider how your child will get to school, taking into account any potential transport costs.

Last year we made a change to the process for determining eligibility for home to school transport for children transferring to secondary school. The details of the changes can be found on our school transport page.

At the point when transport eligibility is being considered, the prospect of being able to secure a place at an alternative nearer school must be a real one. We will assess your prospect of gaining a place there regardless of whether you applied for it. Faith schools are included in this process.

Parents/carers should be aware that in some cases the number of places offered at each school may differ from what is stated as the schools formal published admission number (PAN). Further details regarding temporary intake increases can be found on our school admissions page.

The schools directory highlights the number of applications received and places allocated for the previous year at each school, including the lowest criteria and furthest distance allocated. This may assist you in assessing your chances of obtaining a place at your preferred school.

A child is eligible to receive travel assistance if they are of compulsory school age and fall within the following four categories:


  • a child under the age of eight is eligible for free transport to their nearest suitable school* if it is more than two miles from their home
  • a child is aged between eight and 16 is eligible for free transport to their nearest suitable school* if it is more than three miles from their home

* The nearest suitable school might not be your catchment school if there is a school closer to your home address.

Distance is measured using an in-house mapping system that measures the nearest available route. This will be walking route and for the upper thresholds will be driving route. More information can be found on our school and college transport policies page.

If you are unsure what your nearest school is using transport distance measurements, please contact us:

Contact us

Low income (extended rights)

Your child might be able to get free home to school transport if your family has a low income. That's if your child is entitled to free school meals or you get the maximum level of Working Tax Credit and:

  • they are aged eight to 10 years, attend their nearest suitable school and it is more than two miles from your home; or
  • they are aged 11 to 16 years, and attend one of their three nearest suitable school which is between two and six miles from your home; or
  • they are aged 11 to 16 years, attend a school that is between two and 15 miles from home that has been chosen on the grounds of their religion or belief and, having regard to that religion or belief, there is no suitable school nearer to home

To ensure your child is assessed under our extended rights policy, we need you to have applied and received confirmation of your entitlement to free school meals prior to applying for transport.

Post 16 Hardship

There is no duty for us to provide mainstream post 16 transport however we will consider individual cases where 'hardship' or low income can be demonstrated. The post 16 hardship application form can be found on our apply for travel assistance page.

We review eligibility based on low income each year.

Safety of walking routes

An unsafe or hazardous route is a route that children and accompanying parents, as necessary, cannot be reasonably expected to walk because the nature of the route would be unsafe for them to do so and there is no reasonable alternative route within the statutory walking distances.

Your child may be eligible for travel assistance if the route to school has been assessed as being unsafe or hazardous and your child attends the nearest suitable school which is:

  • less than two miles from home for children aged under eight
  • less than three miles from home for children aged eight and over

Your child will remain eligible for as long as the route remains unsafe. More information can be found on the Road Safety GB website.

The list of hazardous routes is currently being reviewed and will be updated once complete. 

Special educational needs (SEN)/Disability/Medical

We will make transport arrangements for all children who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to their nearest qualifying school because of their mobility difficulties, associated health and safety issues related to their SEN or disability. A person with a disability is defined as having (a) a physical or mental impairment, and/or (b) impairment that has a substantial long term effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. A chronic health condition may lead to eligibility under this definition. Eligibility for such children will be assessed on an individual basis in order to identify their particular transport requirements. More information can be found on our SEN/Disability/Medical transport guidance (PDF, 324KB).

I think I will qualify, what do I do next?

Make sure you have read our policy documents and privacy notice, as the school transport policy is different to school admissions, for example admission applications measure distance as a straight line, whereas we measure the nearest available walking route.

You can apply for a place at any school but your child will only have one nearest suitable school for transport purposes.

That means the nearest suitable school for transport can be different from the nearest school used for allocating places under our admission rules. There is one exception which relates to children aged 11 to 16 from families on a low income.

The application forms can be found on our apply for travel assistance page.

If you don’t qualify for travel assistance, here are some travel options to consider:

Or you could contact the school or college directly.

Can't find what you are looking for? Visit our School transport FAQ page.