Local Authorities have a duty to promote the use of sustainable travel and transport. Home to School transport applies to children and young people of compulsory school age.

In the London Borough of Sutton, the   Home to School Assisted Travel Policy (external link) can be found on the Local Offer. 

The Assisted Travel Application Form can be found here: Application for Travel Assistance for a child with SEND (external link)

Who is entitled to free school transport?

To qualify as an “eligible child”, the child must be of compulsory school age (5—16) attending a qualifying school and must fulfil one of the following criteria:

  • The child is living outside of the statutory walking distance of the nearest suitable maintained school.
  • For children aged over 5 but under the age of 8 the statutory walking distance is 2 miles.
  • For children aged over the age of 8 and under 16 the statutory walking distance is 3 miles.

The statutory distance is measured by the shortest route along which a child, accompanied if necessary, may walk safely.

A suitable school is defined as the nearest qualifying school with places available that provides education appropriate to the age, ability and aptitude of the child and considering any SEN the child may have.

A child’s home is defined as the place where he/she is habitually and normally resident.

  • The child cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their mobility problems or other health and safety concerns related to their SEN or disability.

This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The local authority will consider whether the child could reasonably be expected to walk if accompanied and whether the child’s parent can reasonably be expected to accompany the child.

  • The child cannot reasonably be expected to walk the route to school because the nature of the route is unsafe to walk

The child is entitled to free school meals or their parents are in receipt of maximum Working Tax Credit and

  • The nearest suitable school is beyond 2 miles (for children aged 8-11); or
  • The school is between 2-6 miles and there are not three or more suitable nearer schools (for children aged 11-16). The distance is to be measured by vehicle routes; or
  • The school is between 2-15 miles and is the nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief (for children aged 11-16). The distance is to be measured by vehicle routes. Religion or belief includes a lack of religion or belief and so also applies to an atheist parent’s wish for their child to attend a non-faith school.

Further Information

Home to School Transport: Understanding your Rights (external link)

Statutory Guidance Home to School Transport (External link)

Disclaimer: SIASS has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information contained here is accurate and up to date at the time of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and SIASS cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of any reliance placed upon it.
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