Last updated:
10 August 2017

Free school transport for families on low incomes

Find out if your child is entitled to free school transport and how to apply.

1 Eligibility

If your child is eligible for free school meals or your family is in receipt of working tax credit at the maximum level (no deductions), you may be entitled to help with school transport costs.

Primary school children

Help is available when all of the following apply:

  • Your child is aged 8 and over.
  • The school attended is the catchment or nearest primary school to your child's home address.
  • The home to school walking distance is 2 miles or more, measured by the shortest available walking route.

Secondary school children

Help is available when all of the following apply:

  • Your child is of secondary school age.
  • The secondary school attended is one of the 3 suitable secondary schools nearest to your child's home
  • The home to school walking distance is 2 miles or more, measured by the shortest available walking route.
  • The school attended is less than 6 miles from your child's home, measured by the shortest road route.

Additionally, help is available for secondary school children from families on low income, as specified above, when all of the following apply:

  • Your child attends a school for reasons of religion or belief.
  • The school is 2 miles or more from your child's home, measured by the shortest available walking route.
  • The school is not more than 15 miles from your child's home, measured by the shortest road route.
  • There is no suitable alternative school nearer to your child's home.

Evidence to support grounds of religion or belief will be required and we will be guided by the Equality Act 2006 with regard to definitions. 

2 Apply

If you believe you meet one of the criteria for low income, you must complete an online application form.

Apply for help with school transport

You will need to provide evidence with your application.

A new application must be made for each academic year.

3 When you'll hear

It can take up to 4 weeks for us to respond to your application.  

If your application is successful we'll write to you with more information about your child's free travel. Help is agreed until the end of the school year. You will need to reapply in the summer term for the next school year. 

If your application is unsuccessful we'll write to you explaining why.

4 Collecting and using the pass

Your child can collect their bus pass from their school at the beginning of autumn term. Until they receive their pass they can use the allocation letter or last year's pass (if it is a renewal).

Rail tickets can be collected from the nearest staffed train station using the letter.

The pass can only be used:

  • by the child named on the pass
  • to travel to and from the address and school named on the pass
  • on school days
  • at the beginning and end of normal school hours.

The leaflet below provides further guidance whilst travelling.

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