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Will you qualify?

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.

To decide who is eligible we consider the following:


If your child attends their nearest suitable school where the distance from home to school is more than two miles from home for children aged eight and under or more than three miles for children aged between eight and 16. The 'nearest suitable school' is identified by considering whether your child could have been offered a place at the school, regardless of whether you applied for it. Faith schools are included in this process where we can allocate children to that school. Distance is measured using an in-house mapping system that measures the nearest available route.

Low income

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.

Children aged between 8 and 11 and living more than 2 miles from their nearest suitable school may be able to get home to school transport. The 2 mile limit will be measured along the nearest available route of pavements and roads.

Children in Year 7 to Year 11 (compulsory secondary school age) who are eligible will get free transport either to:

  • 1 of the 3 nearest schools within 6 miles of the child’s home. This is where the child lives between 2–6 miles from that school, or
  • the nearest school preference based on the family's religion or belief. It must be the nearest school to the home address having regard to the relevant religion or belief, and be within 2–15 miles of the home address.

Post 16 Hardship

There is no duty for the council to provide mainstream post 16 transport however the Council will consider individual cases where 'hardship' or low income can be demonstrated. Read more about post 16 hardship and post 16 hardship application form.

We review eligibility based on low income each year.

Safety of walking routes

Your child will be eligible if they attend their nearest suitable school which is:

  • less than 2 miles from home for children aged under 8
  • less than 3 miles from home for children aged 8 and over

but where it is considered unsafe for them, accompanied as necessary, to walk the route with reasonable safety.

Your child will remain eligible for as long as the route remains unsafe. Read more about route assessments, routes deemed hazardous and the Road Safety GB website.

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 or because of associated health and safety issues related to their SEN or disability. ‘Disability’ is defined as a person if they have (a) a physical or mental impairment, and (b) that impairment 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. Read more about SEN/Disability/Medical transport.

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.

Visit our 'Apply for travel assistance' section to make your application. 

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.

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