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Free School Transport Eligibility

Free school transport may be available for your children. Find out if your child qualifies and the special rules for children with SEND.

SCHOOL TRAVEL COSTS: Local councils provide free school transport. It applies most for children who must walk or travel long distances to get to school.

To qualify, your child must be between 5 and 16 years old and attend the nearest school that is suitable for them.

The distance your child must walk determines their eligibility to apply for free school transport.

Note: In most cases, children diagnosed with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities will also get free travel to school.

As a rule, children between the age of 5 and 16 years old may qualify to get free school transport if:

  • They are under 8 years old and live at least 2 miles (3.21 km) from the school.
  • They are 8 years or older and live at least 3 miles (4.82 km) from the school.

Some special free school transport rules apply on unsafe walking routes. Free travel to school for your children is mandatory if there is no safe route for walking. Thus, the traveling distance does not determine your child’s eligibility for this service.

Free School Transport for Low Income Families

There is extra help for families on a low income. Free school travel may be automatic for your children if you get top level Working Tax Credit. A child will also get free transport to school if they already receive free school meals and aged:

  • 8 to 11 years old and they live at least 2 miles away.
  • 11 to 16 years and the school is between 2 and 6 miles away (unless other suitable schools are nearer).
  • 11 to 16 years and the school is between 2 and 15 miles away (allocated for grounds of religion or belief).

Get Help with Home to School Transport

Your child may be eligible for help with the cost of home to school transport. The website of your local council is the first place to check.

Free School Transport for Children with SEND

Exceptions apply for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Children with SEND, and those with mobility problems, get automatic qualification for free school transport.

Note: The fact that they are unable to walk to school means it does not matter how near or far away they live. Contact your local council for further information about free school transport for children with SEND.

Some councils also have a policy for those who are over 16 years of age and travel to an educational facility.

These types of learning establishments include sixth form or further education schools. Check your local authority to see if they offer financial help towards the cost of transport.

Free School Transport Eligibility Criteria in the United Kingdom