The School Transport Team co-ordinates the transport provision for more than 800 children and young people who have a range of special educational needs and disabilities on approximately 200 vehicles each morning and afternoon to all of the Special Schools as well as other Schools and Specialist provisions within the City and also Specialist provision outside of the City boundary. We also provide over 300 bus passes each year for qualifying students.
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure your child gets to and from school. You can request a place at any school for your child, but your child may not necessarily qualify for free school transport. It is very important that you check whether your child will be entitled, as the majority of children will not qualify as they can travel independently. You will need to think carefully about how your child is going to get to the school you prefer for the whole time they will be there.
Transport is provided in a variety of ways, minibus, taxi, bus passes and petrol allowance (an allowance which enables you as the parent/carer to take your child to school in your own transport). We will allocate a form of transport from the information you provide about your child on the application form.
Independent Travel Training is a free scheme to help young people who qualify for school transport to learn how to develop the skills required for safe, independent travel. Travel trainers work with students from mainstream and special schools, pupil referral units, and colleges of further education. This is a referral-only service, please see the relevant link for more details on the scheme.
Who qualifies for assistance with school transport?
Walking distance is measured by the shortest available walking route, from the nearest entrance to your home (for example front gate), to the nearest school entrance. For a child under 8, the walking distance is two miles from home to the school and for a child 8 and over the walking distance is three miles.
- How is distance measured? Measurements are made using Capita ONE electronic mapping software and/or GGP. Measurements are strictly applied to ensure consistency and fairness.
- What if I decide that I want my child to attend a school that is not one of the nearest schools? If the child does not attend their nearest school they would not automatically qualify for support even if the distance is over the statutory limit.
Your child is primary school age and:
- attends their nearest primary school (includes a school based on the parent's religion or belief)
- receives free school meals or you receive the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit
- their distance from home to school is more than two miles on the shortest available walking route
Your child is aged 11 to 16 (year group 7 to 11) and:
- attends one of their three nearest schools
- receives free school meals or you receive the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit
- their distance from home to school is between two and six miles (15 miles if their nearest school is based on the parent's religion or belief)
Do I need to provide proof that my child receives free school meals?
Not usually. We have access to a DWP portal which confirms eligibility.
How is distance measured?
Measurements are made using Capita ONE electronic mapping software and/or GGP. Measurements are strictly applied to ensure consistency and fairness.
What if I decide that I want my child to attend a school that is not one of the nearest schools?
If the child does not attend their nearest school they would not automatically qualify for support even if the distance is over the statutory limit.
If your child has special educational or medical needs that means they can’t walk to school, they won’t automatically be entitled to free transport but we can individually assess their needs to see if they are eligible for free school transport.
Your child must attend the nearest school that meets their needs, this may be a special school/unit or a mainstream school allocated by us. If your child’s needs can be met at a mainstream school, transport will only be considered to the school nearest to your home address
If free transport is provided this will be re-assessed on a regular basis.
If you’ve decided to send your child to a school that isn’t their nearest school, it is unlikely free transport will be provided and you will be responsible for making your own transport arrangements and the cost of this.
- My child has an EHCP, does this mean they automatically qualify for home to school transport? No, it would be based upon whether they could walk the distance to school accompanied by an adult.
- My child has a serious medical condition, who do I tell? Put as much information on the application as possible and we can liaise with you as to the best options for your child and their needs.
- I have been told my child requires a risk assessment – what does this mean? This is an individual assessment based on your child’s specific needs given in the application. This may be because of the medical information you have submitted or where your child needs extra support on transport.
- My child travels using their wheelchair as a seat in the vehicle? Complete the application in full, giving all details of the wheelchair used. One of the School Transport Team will be in touch regarding what happens next.
Your child may be eligible to get free transport if:
- Your child is in years 6,10 or 11
- Your child was attending their nearest school before the move
- The move wasn’t voluntary
- The distance is more than three miles from home to school or 2 miles if your child receives free school meals or you receive the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit
My child already qualifies for school transport but we are moving, will they still be eligible?
Please submit a new application, as eligibility will need to be re-assessed.
How to apply
Complete our online form if you think your child is eligible for free school transport.
Applications for September term start must be submitted between 1 April and 31 May to ensure eligible students are allocated to transport from the start of the new term. Applications received after 31 May, transport may not be in place for the beginning of the term.
If you would like to leave a comment for the School Transport Team, this can be done via
- Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone – 01752 308770
- Post– School Transport, Windsor House, Tavistock Road, Plymouth PL6 5UF
If your school transport application has been refused, you have the right to appeal. The appeal procedure is a two stage process consisting of a Review and an Appeal.
Stage one – Review
- A request for a review must be submitted within 20 working days of the date of the refusal letter.
- The written request should detail why you believe the decision should be reviewed and give details of any personal and/or family exceptional circumstances you believe should be considered.
- Within 20 working days of receipt of your written request a Senior Transport Officer will review the original decision and send you a written notification of the outcome of their review, this will include the decision reached; how the review was conducted; information about other departments and/or agencies that were consulted as part of the process; what factors were considered and the rationale for the decision reached. If the review is refused the letter will also confirm how to appeal against the decision.
Stage two – Full appeal
- You have 20 working days from receipt of the local authority’s review decision notification to make a written request to escalate the matter to the appeal.
- Within 40 working days of receipt of your request an independent appeal panel of 3 Senior Officers (independent of the original decision) will consider written and verbal representations from both the parent and officers involved in the case.
- Within 5 working days of the appeal panel hearing a written notification of the outcome of their appeal will be sent to you; this will include the decision reached; how the appeal was conducted; it will confirm if other departments and/or agencies were consulted as part of the process; what information were considered; and the rationale for the decision reached.
- If the appeal is refused, the letter will also confirm your right to put the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman
Contact the SEND School Transport Team:
Telephone: 01752 308770 office open 7.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday
School transport frequently asked questions.