Free School Transport for Under 16s
The details provided in this section only applies to Staffordshire residents; if you do not live in Staffordshire, you should approach your own council for transport assistance.
If you are looking for information for students to travel in year 12 and above please visit our post 16 transport pages.
What type of transport assistance will be offered?
Transport assistance will normally take the form of either:-
A place on a contracted vehicle hired by the Authority, or
A travel pass for public transport, or
The payment of travelling expenses (this might include the reimbursement of bus or train fares, or a petrol or cycling allowance at a rate determined by the Authority)
Staffordshire County Council may change the type of assistance offered to make the best use of resources
Generally, children may be required to walk (or be accompanied if a parent feels it is appropriate) up to one mile to or from a designated pick up/drop off point. It is for parents to decide if a child needs to be accompanied and make any arrangements they feel are necessary. The Authority will determine which type of transport assistance will be offered, and may change the type of transport provided from a seat on a hired school bus, to a seat on a public service bus or train, or vice versa.
Who is entitled?
Statutory age school pupils (up to and including year group 11) are normally entitled to free home to school transport if they:
Reside in Staffordshire, and
Live beyond the walking distance* from the school that they attend which is also their registered base, and
Live within the designated catchment area of the school, or are attending the nearest suitable school, as determined by the Authority. To check the catchment school for your address please use the localview website. Please note that a closest school may be one outside of Staffordshire.
*Walking distance is defined as up to two miles for pupil's aged under eleven at the start of the school year, and up to three miles for pupils over eleven at the start of the school year. The distance is measured using the shortest available walking route from the child's address, to the nearest open gate to the school site, using the Geographic Information System (GIS) held within School Organisation, Admissions and Transport, and is calculated based upon the road and pathway network held at that time. This may change over time as the network is updated and new roads and paths are added. The location of the home address is calculated using the property seed point as defined by the National Land and Propery Gazetteer.
When considering a walking route it is assumed that the child will be accompanied by an adult as the parent feels necessary. Where parents are working at the time their child will travel to and from school, it is a parent's duty to make other arrangements for someone to accompany their children as they feel necessary.
From summer 2013 changes are being made which raises the age to which students must continue their education or training. Students in Year 11 in September 2012 will be required to continue their education or training until at least the end of the school year in which they turn 17. Those in year 10 and below will have to continue until at least their 18th birthday.
The document below from the Department for Education provides more information. However, this change will not extend the entitlement for the provision of free transport beyond year 11 as it does not mean that the student has to stay at school - for example they can choose to work full time and study part time, continue full time study at school or college, or be involved in part time training whilst volunteering.
Department for Education information on raising the participation age
Other reasons transport assistance is considered
You can also apply for transport assistance under any of the following categories if you are eligible.
Low income families - income assessed transport
Low income groups are defined as those who are entitled to, and registered for, free school meals, or are in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.
Please note a different application is required for income assessed transport. View more details and find out how to apply.
When moving address parents should give consideration to the transport arrangements for their child.
If your son or daughter already receives transport and you move address, please return the travel pass to the Integrated Transport and Planning Unit, Wedgwood Building, Tipping Street, Stafford, ST16 2DH.
If your child will still be attending the correct catchment or closest school for your new address, please make a new application. To find the catchment school please use the localview web page.
If a pupil moves address and no longer attends the catchment or closest school for their new address, the pupil is no longer entitled to free transport. We would expect you to transfer your child to the closest or catchment school serving your new address, or make your own transport arrangements to continue attending the existing school.
However, if your new address in within Staffordshire, your move was due to exceptional circumstances, and the pupil was attending the catchment or closest school for your last address, the Authority may consider offering transport assistance - an application should be made and you must attach evidence of your exceptional circumstances.
If a pupil who is attending their correct catchment or closest school is unable to walk to school due to a medical reason and you can provide supporting written medical evidence from your GP or hospital that they are unable to walk to school and the likely period of incapacity, transport assistance may be provided. To apply for assistance please complete the application form attaching your supporting medical evidence.
For children of primary school age, transport may also be considered if both parents' medical conditions prevent them from accompanying their child on their journey to school. Again, an application should be made in writing providing supporting medical evidence.
Where transport is provided under medical grounds the case will be reviewed on a regular basis and continued supporting medical evidence will be requested.
Individual consideration will be given to pupils who do not meet the criteria set out above. You must provide written details of any special circumstances you want to be considered. Please note individual family work commitments are not normally taken into account when considering eligibility for transport assistance.
Walking route unavailable
If you feel that transport should be provided as you consider that the walking route is unavailable, please be aware that a route is assessed on the basis that the pupil will be accompanied by an adult as necessary. You will find below the walking route assessment criteria which is used by the County Council when considering if a route is available. If you consider that a walking route is unavailable then you must provide full details of the particular sections of the route that you feel are unavailable and the reasons why. We will only consider eligiblity for free transport on the basis of an unavailable route if it is your closest or catchment area school.
walking route assessment criteria Word version
walking route assessment criteria .PDF version