School travel

Who is eligible?

For pupils aged 5 to 16, travel support is provided between home and school if:

  • pupils attend the nearest appropriate school as determined by the Local Authority and the distance between home and school exceeds the statutory walking distance ie two miles or more for pupils under 8 years of age and three miles or more for pupils aged 8 to 16 (accompanied as necessary).
  • Additionally, children aged between 8 and 11 years from low income families are entitled to travel support where they live more than two miles from their nearest, appropriate, qualifying school.
  • Children aged 11 to 16 from low income families are entitled to travel support from their home to one of their three nearest qualifying schools as designated by the Local Authority if the distance is between two and six miles or to their nearest, suitable preferred school on grounds of religion or belief, if the distance is between two miles and 15 miles.

Travel options may include

  • Bus or rail pass
  • Reimbursement for mileage for parents / carers
  • Escorts for walking / public travel

Parents/guardians are advised to read the Full Home to School Travel Policy (pdf, 271 KB) (opens new window) before applying with the application form for travel support (msword, 213 KB) (opens new window) .

Additionally, you may apply for travel support for:

Pupils under five years of age

Travel support is provided for full-time pupils in primary school reception classes provided they attend their nearest appropriate school and live more than two miles from that school. Travel support is not provided for part-time pupils at the end of the morning session or at the beginning of the afternoon session.

Pupils with medical problems

Travel support may be provided on medical grounds, on the advice of a consultant, to enable pupils to attend their nearest appropriate school even though they may live within the statutory walking distance.

Pupils with Special Educational Needs

Travel support for pupils with Special Educational Needs may be provided if the distance between home and their nearest appropriate school (as designated by the Local Authority) is more than the statutory walking distance i.e. two miles for children under the age of eight years, three miles for children over the age of eight years or over the designated walking distance if the child is from a low income family.

Under the statutory walking distance, parents have a legal responsibility for getting their children to and from school.

If you choose to send your child to a school which is not the nearest appropriate one, you will be expected to make and pay for your own travel arrangements.

Pupils attending Denominational schools

On the 21 July 2011 the Cabinet approved the removal of discretionary (non-statutory) support with travel for all new admissions to denominational schools with effect from September 2012. This decision does not affect the ‘statutory’ entitlement of low income families who have expressed a preference based on religion or belief as referred to above.

Pupils in temporary accommodation

Travel support may be provided for up to two terms to enable pupils to continue to attend their current school. Once they have been re housed, parents/carers have the option of transferring them to a nearer school or, if they wish to keep them at their original school, meet the cost of any travel arrangements.

Pupils Over 16 Years of Age

Travel support for 16 - 19 year old students is provided for students who have had a Statement of Special Educational Needs, and have a physical impairment which means they are unable to walk even if accompanied, and who are attending their nearest appropriate Post 16 Provision.

Students/Parents/guardians are advised to read the Post 16 Students LA Transport Policy Statement before applying with the Post 16 SEN Travel Application. See our related documents section for more details.

Approved home to school arrangements

If your application is approved, the following will be expected of the council and parents/guardians

Council responsibilities

  • Passenger Services are responsible for the day-to-day transport arrangements such as booking vehicles, allocating pupils to routes, employing escorts, and notifying parents of all transport arrangements.
  • It has been agreed that the travelling time for children with special educational needs should not normally exceed one hour, fifteen minutes but there may be occasional exceptions, due to severe traffic congestion etc.
  • Passenger Services will notify parents of any contractual and timetabling changes in writing.
  • Specialist seating and harnesses are available for all children who need them.
  • As a safety precaution, we make it a requirement in the contracts with the companies which provide transport, that all drivers are vetted by the Police. Staff directly employed by Passenger Services (escorts/drivers) are subject to the same checks.

Parent/Guardian responsiblities

  • Whilst some children will receive a door-to-door service, others may be expected to catch the school bus at a pick up point, or will be given a bus pass to travel on public bus services. Parents will be responsible for the safety of their children to and from the pick up point, or bus stop.
  • Where a home pick up has been agreed, please ensure that your children are ready and brought to the vehicle on time.
  • It is vital that parents are home to receive and meet their children from the vehicle at the end of the day.
  • If pupils misbehave on the school vehicle and pose a threat to the safety of the driver, escort, other children, or other road users, travel support may be withdrawn temporarily by the Authority. Persistent, unresolved, problems of children misbehaving may result in transport being withdrawn completely. Under these circumstances, it will be the parents' responsibility to ensure attendance at school.
  • Parents and children are asked to treat drivers and escorts courteously. In the interests of children, confrontations must be avoided - any complaints about travel arrangements, or the actions/conduct of drivers / escorts must be reported to Passenger Services and / or the CYPS travel team..
  • Parents are advised to listen for 'bad weather arrangements' as broadcast on local radio stations during the winter period. Advice will be given regarding school closures and cancellation of transport.

Contact Information:

Home to School Travel Team
Tel: 0117 903 7672

Mailing address:
Home To School Travel Team
Bristol City Council
Floor 1, Brunel House
St Georges Road

Visiting address:
Home To School Travel Team
Bristol City Council
Brunel House
St Georges Road

SEN - Case Officers
tel: 0117 903 7691
fax: 0117 903 7697
post: PO Box 57
BS99 7EB

Passenger Services
tel: 0117 980 1331
fax: 0117 977 3985
Transport Coordinators

Brunel House
St George Street
Bristol BS1 5UY