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School transport policy

Please check the expiry date of your child’s travel pass and retain the pass until this date. New passes will not automatically be issued for September.

Printable version

The document below can be printed out and contains our current home to school and college travel policy and guidance.

Am I entitled to free travel assistance?

Children in classes reception up to year 11 are entitled to free home to school travel assistance if they meet these criteria:

  • they live in Staffordshire
  • they live beyond walking distance from the school where they are registered (and which is a non fee paying school)
  • they live in the catchment area (as determined by Staffordshire County Council), or are at the nearest suitable school with places available. 
  • The pupil’s learning difficulty or disability means they cannot be reasonably expected to make the journey safely to the nearest suitable school (even when accompanied) – for more information please visit the Special Educational Needs transport page.

What is a suitable school?

A ‘suitable’ school is one which provides education appropriate to the age, ability, aptitude and sex of the pupil, and any special educational needs that the pupil may have. This could be within or outside of Staffordshire, a two or three tier school, and a faith or non-faith school. The fact that a school does not offer a particular subject or specialism does not make it unsuitable. 

How do you determine the nearest school?

Following Department for Education guidance, when considering which is the ‘nearest’ school we will check to see if a place would reasonably been available at the school for the pupil at either -

  1. At the point that they moved address or school if they have moved school or address outside the usual admissions round; or
  2. At the point that the school place was offered for them to join the school for those who moved as part of the usual admissions round (e.g. Reception starters, primary to high moves etc).We will assess your prospect of having gained a place at a nearer school(s) by checking if you would have qualified for a place because you would have had a higher priority than the last person offered a place at the school.

This process will apply for all transport applications, regardless of how long after the pupil started at the school the transport application is received. The fact that a parent chose to not apply for a place at that school, does not affect the process. If they would reasonably have been offered a place it will still be considered as the ‘nearest’. If a parent has rejected an offer of a place at any nearer school, it would still be considered as ‘suitable’. When a parent chooses a school, which is neither the catchment or nearest school, or to which there is no entitlement under low income grounds, they remain responsible for arranging and funding their own travel as they feel is necessary. 

Are there any different arrangements for pupil's with an Education, Health and Care plan? 

For a child with an Education, Health and Care Plan, the school named in a child’s plan will usually be considered their nearest suitable school for transport purposes, subject to the exception set out below:

Where a parent would prefer their child to attend a school that is further away from their home than the nearest school that would be able to meet their needs, the local authority will consider whether transporting the child to the preferred school would be incompatible with the efficient use of resources. They should determine the cost of providing the child with free travel to each of the two schools. If it would cost more to transport the child to the preferred school, they should decide whether the additional cost of providing travel to the parent’s preferred school is incompatible with the efficient use of resources, this will include deciding whether the educational benefits and other advantages the school will provide for the child outweigh the additional cost. This work will be carried out by your Key Worker as part of the EHCP process.

If the authority determines that providing travel to the parent’s preferred school would be incompatible with the efficient use of resources, the local authority may name the nearer school, or name the parent’s preferred school on the condition that the parent arranges the travel or provides some, or all the cost of the travel. Should you have any query regarding the named school within the EHCP, please contact your Key Worker.

When else would you provide travel assistance other than being over walking distance? 

Assistance may also be provided if:

Please use the school routes checker to check your entitlement to free home to school travel assistance and confirm which is your catchment school for free transport purposes. 

If you are not eligible there are other alternatives

Are nursery age children eligible?

There is no entitlement to free travel assistance for children under statutory school age.

How do I apply?

If having read the information above you feel you are eligible for free home to school transport assistance, please view the information on how to apply page.

Exceptional circumstances

If you feel there are other factors that should be considered by the local authority then you must provide written details and any relevant evidence when applying.

Please note: requests for help due to individual family work commitments, childcare arrangements or convenience to parents are generally not considered exceptional circumstances on their own.

Applications for pupils in years 10 and 11 get a higher level of consideration but we consider each application on its own merits. We consider all the circumstances and supporting evidence provided. There is no guarantee that we will provide assistance for any particular case.

If we agree to offer travel assistance as a concession due to exceptional circumstances, this may be free of charge, or we may request you pay a contribution towards the cost.

What is walking distance?

Walking distance is defined as:

  • up to 2 miles for children in year 6 and below
  • up to 3 miles for children in year 7 to year 11

We calculate the location of a home address using the property seed point. This is as defined by the National Land and Property Gazetteer.

We measure the distance using the shortest walking route from your child’s home address. This is to the nearest open gate to the school main site, or if no gate details are held we will use the school's location as held by the Department of Education. It is calculated based upon the catchment areas, school gates and age ranges, road and pathway network held at the time on the geographical information system (GIS) measured down the middle of the road. This may change over time as the network is updated and new gates, roads and paths are added or old ones removed. We will use the calculated shortest walking route to determine which is the closest school (or 3 closest when under low income grounds). We will then use the calculated shortest available walking route distance (if this differs) to determine if travel assistance is to be provided.

Please note: a sibling or previous occupant of the property may have got help with travel. This does not guarantee that we will agree future travel assistance requests. 

When will assistance be provided?

Travel assistance is only assessed and provided between one main home address and the registered base. We will provide assistance for one return journey at the beginning and end of the normal school day to match the school governing body approved session times.

It is your responsibility to make any necessary arrangements for your child's transport:

  • for any other times
  • to or from any other location

In the event that we have provided free travel assistance in error, the service will be withdrawn giving notice which we consider reasonable in the circumstances.

What type of travel assistance be provided? 

 Travel assistance will take the form of one of the following:

  •  A pass for public transport (by bus or train). Pupils may need to change vehicles to complete their journey. For students with learning difficulties and disabilities we may offer independent travel training to help them to use public transport

  •  A payment for you to make your own travel arrangements.

  • A place on a school bus or other vehicle hired by us. Pupils may need to change vehicles to complete their journey.

We will decide what type of travel assistance is provided based upon what is most appropriate, suitable, and cost effective. We may change the type of help provided over time.

When we agree to make a payment to make your own travel arrangements this will either be – 

1 - For those who have no special transport needs, a mileage allowance of 25p per mile for four journeys per day, paid at the end of each term. The number of miles paid will be calculated to 2 decimal places using the shortest driving route (avoiding toll roads) in Google Maps.

 2 - For those who have a special transport need, a personal travel budget of 60p per mile for four journeys per day, paid monthly in advance. The number of miles paid will be calculated to 2 decimal places using the shortest driving route (avoiding toll roads) in Google Maps.

 A special transport need is one where the pupil needs additional support during the journey, adapted transport, or additional equipment to be transported. This would need to be demonstrated by providing professional supporting information from a school, hospital, consultant, or specialist support service of their opinion of the needs and how they affect the type of transport required.

In exceptional circumstances, for pupils with particularly specialist individual transport needs (for example requiring medical support during the journey) we may offer a bespoke budget based upon those needs. Again, those needs would need to be demonstrated by providing professional supporting information from a school, hospital, consultant, or specialist support service of their opinion of the needs and how they affect the type of transport required.

In all cases, payments made be reduced or reclaimed based upon pupil attendance.  Please note: if there are two or more children from the same address attending the same school or same site where we have agreed to a mileage allowance or personal travel budget, we will usually only pay one allowance as we expect them to travel together.

Generally, children may be required to walk up to one mile to or from a designated pick up/drop off point or public transport. It is for parents to decide if a child needs to be accompanied on that journey and make any arrangements they feel are necessary. 

 If you disagree with the type of travel assistance offered, you have a right to review.

You may find these pages useful:

When will free travel assistance not be provided?

The following are some examples of when free travel assistance is unlikely to be provided:

  • to/from breakfast or before or after school clubs or activities
  • to/from work experience, taster or open days
  • to/from part-time provision off the school site organised by the school e.g. to vocational classes at a college
  • movement between educational establishments/sites
  • to/from temporary addresses
  • to/from childminders, friends or other family members addresses
  • to students on exchange visits. The receiving family are responsible for arranging and paying for any transport required
  • to/from dental, clinical, medical or hospital appointments
  • at a differing time due to detention or after school activities
  • due to parental work or childcare arrangements
  • to/from any site other than the registered main base of the school at which the pupil is registered
  • due to family financial circumstances except where the income assessed criteria are met

Can my child be picked up from or taken to an alternative location?

We provide free travel between your child’s permanent home address and their registered school. Home to school travel assistance will not be provided to a school at which your child is not a registered pupil.

Children cannot travel to or from other addresses to suit childcare or parental work arrangements. We cannot transport them from other family member's or childminder's addresses.

Free travel assistance is provided between the child’s permanent home address and their registered school only. If a child spends time during the school week at more than one address, it is the main address i.e. the one held by the school and that proof can be produced showing it is registered for the purpose of claiming child benefit, from which eligibility for free travel assistance will be assessed. Only in very exceptional circumstances may we consider entitlement to travel from other addresses. 

What if I move house?

If your child already receives travel assistance and you move, you must:

  • let your school know the new address
  • return the travel pass to the Transport and Connected County team
  • if your child is attending the catchment or nearest suitable school with a place available for your new address and you live beyond walking distance, make a new application for help with travel
  • if your new address is within Staffordshire, your move was sudden and due to exceptional circumstances, and your child was attending the catchment or nearest suitable school for your last address (but it is no longer the catchment or closest school for the new address) we may consider offering help with travel. Make an application and attach evidence of what you consider to be your exceptional circumstances

Please note: Applications for pupils in years 10 and 11 get a higher level of consideration but we consider each application on its own merits. We consider all the circumstances and supporting evidence provided. There is no guarantee that we will provide assistance for any particular case.

What if my child changes school?

If your child moves to another school other than due to a house move, we would not offer help with travel unless they meet the general criteria.

Moves to alternative establishments

If your child moves to an alternative establishment such as a pupil referral unit (PRU), the service responsible for the move should see if help with travel is possible.

Dual-registered children

A child may become ‘dual registered’. This is where they spend part of the week at their registered base and part at another establishment. We would consider travel assistance only to the main registered base. The registered base handles funding. They would have to agree to authorising travel assistance to any other establishment.

Managed moves

A school may arrange a ‘managed move’. This is where a child remains on the roll at their registered school but they attend another school. Their registered base would be responsible for arranging and paying for help with travel. They would have to agree it is necessary.

Moves due to claims of bullying

If your child has moved school because of bullying we can only consider travel help if you provide:

  • Written confirmation from the headteacher of the original school that they made all efforts to address the issue. They must confirm that it is in the best interest of the child that they should transfer to a new school.
  • Written recommendation from at least one other professional. This could be an education welfare worker or educational psychologist. They would have to recommend that your child should transfer.

The school your child moves to must be the next nearest school to the home address with an available place and if they live over the walking distance from the school they may get help.

We consider each request on its own merits. We will take into consideration any extra costs involved.

What happens when my child goes into year 7 at middle school?

Children attending their catchment or closest middle school who live between 2 and 3 miles from the school will have free home to school transport during years 5 and 6.

We would withdraw their travel assistance at the end of year 6. This is because they will no longer be above the 3 mile distance criteria applied from year 7 onwards.

What if my child has to repeat a year?

Pupils who repeat a year will be considered for travel assistance as if they are a year younger.

Raising the participation age (RPA)

Young people must now continue in education or training until they reach 18.

This change does not mean that free travel assistance will be provided beyond year 11 as they do not have to stay at school.

For example they can choose to:

  • Work full time and study part time.
  • Be involved in part time training whilst volunteering.
  • Continue full time study at school or college.

Data protection and fair processing

Any personal data collected through your application for travel assistance or request for a review or appeal against the decision is handled securely and in accordance with data protection legislation. 

We collect personal data including your child’s name, address, date of birth, name of current or previous school, and reasons for a travel assistance request from the application/request that you complete and submit to us. for income assessed applications we would also collect information and evidence of benefits received. The information provided will be used to process your application for travel, to ensure that any travel assistance provided is appropriate and to process any subsequent review or appeal against the decision.

Your application or review/appeal request will be kept for 6 years after processing and will then be destroyed securely.

We will share your data with the educational establishment and local authority services such as local support teams, district inclusion partnerships, and other agencies in order for them to carry out their statutory duties in relation to the provision of education or safeguarding, and the transport provider as necessary. 

In order to carry out a review or appeal of the decision we may also contact any of the following for further information - local councils, other local authorities, housing association or landlord, staff at the previous or present educational establishment, social worker, education welfare worker, local support team staff, specialist support services including Autism Outreach, ASSIST, Visual Impairment Team, Hearing Impairment Team, Adoption and Fostering Service, SEND Assessment and Planning Service and medical professionals for which you provide contact details.  

We always try to ensure that information we hold about you is accurate and up to date. To help us do this please let us know if your child’s details change. 

If you would like further advice on how the information provided is used or have a concern please contact the school admissions service in the first instance. 

Further information on how we utilise your personal data is available on our privacy notice and your data pages.

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