Free School Travel Assistance

1. Free School Travel Assistance

Parents are responsible, in law, for ensuring their child attends school so you should consider the daily journey when applying for schools. If it is not possible to walk to school because of the distance involved, you could consider using public transport or car sharing. Most schools have school travel plans and are working with parents to reduce their car use.

Travel assistance for pupils is generally provided where the school attended is the nearest suitable school and it is more than two miles (under 8) or three miles (over 8) from your home address. Most children do not qualify for help with home to school travel assistance and parents are responsible for making the travel arrangements and meeting the cost.

For secondary aged children you can check if your child would be entitled to free school transport by using our Free School Transport tool . This checker measures the length of the journey to school and includes any extra entitlements currently permitted under the Council’s School Transport Policy.

For primary aged children please contact us

Some points to note:

We only provide free transport to catchment schools or grammar schools where they are also the nearest school. All secondary schools are ‘suitable schools’ for transport purposes.

School places are allocated using direct distance whereas for transport eligibility purposes we measure the route following the road network. You can use the transport checker to find out which is your nearest secondary school for transport purposes.

Occasionally we will arrange transport to a school that is not your nearest school. We consider this where you have included the nearest school as a higher preference and have not been allocated a place there.

  • If you do not name your nearest school amongst your preferences we will not provide free transport to a school further away.
  • If, when you applied for a school place, you could have applied for a nearer school which had vacancies, but chose not to, your child is unlikely to be eligible for free transport.

Please do not assume that because an older sibling is already in receipt of free transport that a younger child will receive free transport to the same school. Eligibility may change as a result of changes to the road network or school gate locations or the order you express the school preferences.

Free transport on the basis of Low Income is available for children eligible to claim free school meals or where a parent is in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit. See here for more information.

You may also be entitled to free transport to your nearest school, if you live under 2 or 3 miles (depending on age) from the school and the route has been designated as an unsafe walking route, or if your child has difficulty in walking to school and this is confirmed by a medical specialist. You can ask about this by using the Contact Us Form if you think this is the case.

This summary is based on the Home to School Transport Policy as at August 2018. Both the council policy and the national transport legislation and guidance may change, so it is not possible to assume that this will always be the case.

 Paid for home to school transport

Spare places on school bus services provided for entitled pupils can be purchased on a first come first served basis. You can find out more information about paid for’ places here

 More information

For full details of Home to School Transport policy document

2. Families on a low income

There are special arrangements in place for children from families on a low income.

Children aged 11 to 16 from low income families are eligible if they attend one of their three nearest qualifying schools and live more than two miles, but not more than six miles away, or the nearest school selected for religious reasons more than two miles but not more than 15 miles away.

To qualify, your child will need to be entitled to Free School Meals because you receive one of these benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment Support Allowance (income related)
  • Child Tax Credit with an annual gross income which is less than £16,190 (and not in receipt of Working Tax Credit)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit
  • Working tax credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop being qualified for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit

If your child is not entitled to Free School Meals, another benefit that is accepted is entitlement to the maximum level of Working Tax Credits, this means that there is no reduction due to income in the Working Tax Credits elements section of your HM Revenue & Customs award notice for the current tax year.


3. Contact

If you have any questions about:

  • the entitlement to free School Transport, please contact us 
  • bus boarding and alighting points, bus passes and paid for travel (spare seats are sold on existing school transport) please use the client transport contact form.

Lost or damaged tickets

Your school may issue you with a temporary 5 day pass while you are waiting for a replacement pass. Contact your school reception.

Apply online for a replacement ticket

By post:

Send your child’s name, date of birth and £13 replacement fee to:

Client and Public Transport
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall, Aylesbury HP20 1YZ

Cheques should be made payable to Buckinghamshire County Council.

Emergency tickets are not available before the issue of a travel pass.