Starting primary school

15. Free home to school transport

Please see the free and partially subsidised transport to school pages or contact your area education office for more information.

Parents should consider the logistics and costs of home to school transport when considering their school and academy preferences.  It is important to note that the vast majority of admission policies use straight line measures when allocating places.  Please check the individual admission arrangements for the schools and academies which you are considering.

In relation to home to school transport, it is important that you note, however, that eligibility is assessed as a separate exercise after places have been offered:

  • eligibility is assessed using walking routes as accepted by the Local Authority (home address to school/academy)
  • the nearest suitable school with a place is also taken into account (at which a place could have been allocated)
  • the nearest suitable school includes those outside of the defined geographical priority area for any school or academy at which a place has been offered
  • the nearest suitable school will also include those in neighbouring Local Authority areas and districts
  • for information about transport to denominational (faith) schools and academies, please see denominational transport. There have been significant changes to the Local Authority's Home to School Transport policy for new pupils starting at primary and secondary schools from September 2018
  • for Lancashire's selective grammar schools (academies) transport, assistance is only available where the school/academy is nearest to a home address and the relevant distance criterion is met

If your child is not entitled to free school transport to school and you wish your child to travel on school buses, you can normally do so on payment of a daily fare.  For further information, please see the school transport section or contact the School Transport Traveline Service on 0300 123 6738.

There is no entitlement to school transport when parents/carers choose to send their child to a school other than the nearest qualifying school.

Please take this into consideration when making your preferences.  If in doubt, please contact your area education office for advice.


To qualify for free home to school transport, children of compulsory school age are required to attend the nearest suitable school on a full-time basis and meet the criteria outlined below:

Pupils under the age of 8 years old Where a pupil, who is under 8 years old, is attending the nearest qualifying school with places available and the shortest walking distance between home and school is more than 2 miles
Pupils aged 8 years and over Where a pupil, who is 8 years old and over, is attending their nearest qualifying school with places available and the shortest walking distance between home and school is more than 3 miles
All primary pupils aged 8 – 11 where the family is in receipt of free school meals All primary aged pupils aged 8 – 11 years, who attend their nearest qualifying school with places available, the shortest walking distance between home and school is more than 2 miles and the family is in receipt of free school meals or the maximum level of Working Tax Credit

Unsuitable routes

We may have a duty to provide free travel where the walking route has been assessed as unsuitable by us.  We have an agreed policy on the criteria used when assessing whether a route is suitable.  If a route can be made suitable, or an alternative suitable walking route can be identified and transport had been provided, this may then be removed.

Suitable schools

When assessing eligibility, the county council considers whether the nearest qualifying school has places available and provides education appropriate to the age, ability and aptitudes of your child and any Special Educational Needs your child may have.

Denominational transport

From September 2018, the county council removed the discretionary element of the Home to School Transport Policy so there is no longer any denominational transport assistance available for new pupils starting at either primary or secondary schools in September 2021, unless the family meet the criteria above.  However, transport assistance will still be provided for existing pupils so that children who started school under one set of transport arrangements continue to benefit from them until they either conclude their education or move to another school.

Season tickets

If you don't qualify for free home to school transport and there are spare places on a Lancashire County Council contracted school transport service, you may be able to purchase a season ticket.  Please contact the School Traveline for advice on 0300 123 6738.  Please note it might be more cost effective for your child to travel on a public bus service and for you to purchase a discounted period travel ticket direct from the operator.


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Apply online for a school place

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The deadline to apply for a primary school place for September 2021 is 15 January 2021.

Any applications received after the deadline will be classed as late.