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0808 808 3555
Local authorities do not have to provide free transport to
education for young people over compulsory school age. This
includes 16-17 year olds, even though 16-17 year olds must stay in
education or training. It applies whether your son or daughter
stays on at school after year 11, goes to college or does some kind
of work based learning.
Your son or daughter's travel arrangements may be reassessed
even if they are staying on at the same school. Some local
authorities may continue to provide the same transport
arrangements, but they may charge for this.
Local transport policy
Although your local authority does not have to provide free
transport, it must publish a transport policy statement setting out
what travel arrangements are available to enable 16-19 year olds to
participate in education or training. The policy also applies to
young people over 19 who are continuing a course started before
their 19th birthday.
Local authorities should not have a blanket policy to restrict
transport to certain groups of young people, for example those who
have received transport to school in the past, or those who have
been to special schools. They should consider individual needs and
the distance and nature of the route when deciding who is
What kind of transport might be available?
Arrangements should be flexible enough to allow for reasonable
choice of education and training places. Details should be set out
in your local authority's Local Offer section on their website.
Options might include:
Special educational needs and disability
The local policy must include arrangements to help young people
with SEN/D to get to education. As explained above, these may not
be provided for free.
Young people with SEN/D may need help with transport because
they may not be able to travel in the same way as most young people
in the area, for example if:
The local authority can make specific travel arrangements if
needed and should look at each case individually before making a
decision about suitable transport. Guidance says that transport
should enable a young person to reach their place of education or
training without such stress strain or difficulty that would
prevent them from benefiting from the education provided.
If applying for transport, provide supporting information about
your son or daughter's physical disability, awareness of risk or
sensory difficulties that would make it difficult for them to walk
or use existing transport arrangements.
Post 16 transport to education and training has information
about what should be in local authority policies.
Contributing to travel costs
Local authorities can ask families for a contribution to travel
costs even if they were getting free transport previously. Details
should be set out in the local authority policy. The amount should
be reasonable and in line with travel costs for young people in the
area without SEN/D. The contribution should also be affordable for
low income families. Arrangements should give details about any
help available with travel costs, who is eligible, and how to
Other financial help
There may be alternative sources of funding to help with
education costs, including transport. The 16-19 bursary may be
available to help with education-related costs, including
transport, if your son or daughter meets the eligibility criteria.
Young people over 19 may qualify for discretionary funding from
more information about the 16-19 bursary.
Your son or daughter's school, college or training provider can
give you more information about financial support
You or your son or daughter may also qualify for benefits. See
our benefits webpages for further information. Our freephone
helpline can advise you further about your entitlements.
Transport over 18
There is a separate duty to provide transport for adults aged 18
The law says that local authorities must make transport
arrangements if they consider it necessary to enable adults to
attend education. Such arrangements must be free of charge. The
local authority policy must also specify travel arrangements for
adults in the area with Education, Health
and Care plans. The adult transport policy is often published
together with the policy for 16-18 year olds.
Adults who are eligible for social care may also receive help
with transport to education as part of their Care and Support plan.
information about requesting a social care assessment and moving
to adult social care.
You may be unhappy with a local authority decision on school
transport, either because they have decided your son or daughter is
not eligible or you think that the transport offered is not
suitable. Your local authority should have a complaints and appeals
procedure for transport decisions. This should be published
alongside the transport policy.
Challenging school transport policies has guidance on how to
challenge potentially unlawful local transport policies.
For advice on taking matters further, please contact our freephone
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