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Transport in Wales

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Local authorities have a duty to provide free school transport to pupils up to the age of 16 where they consider it ‘necessary’ in order to get them to the nearest suitable school. This will depend on various circumstances, including the walking distance between home and school, family and social circumstances, health, additional needs and/or disability.

The school is beyond ‘walking distance’

Local authorities generally have a duty to provide free school transport to the child’s nearest suitable school if it is beyond the statutory walking distance from their home. Walking distance is measured as the shortest available route.

The walking distance is defined as:

  • Up to two miles for pupils in primary school.
  • Up to three miles for pupils in secondary school.

If you have chosen a school beyond walking distance

If your preferred school is beyond the statutory walking distance but the local authority considers that there is a nearer suitable school, the local authority does not have to provide free school transport.

Other situations when transport may be considered necessary

There are other situations where transport may be considered necessary. Local authorities can provide transport to pupils who:

  • For medical reasons, or because they have a disability, cannot walk to school.
  • Live within the walking distance but who, without free transport, could not reasonably be expected to get to school.

However, local authorities have the discretion to pay part or all of any pupil’s reasonable travelling costs.

Information about the local authority’s home to school transport

Local authorities must publish their home to school transport policy on an annual basis. They should have a clear policy on transport for children with special educational needs.

Transport and statements

Transport can be included in part four or six of the statement of special educational needs, but it is usually only included in exceptional cases where a child has particular transport needs.

Get advice

Many families experience difficulties in getting the local authority to provide suitable transport for their child and have to challenge them. Contact our free helpline if you experience any difficulties.

You can find our more by reading the Learner Travel Statutory Provision and Operational Guidance June 2014 [PDF].