Free transport to school

12. Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Usually free transport to school is provided for children who live further than the statutory walking distance from school, if they attend the nearest suitable school. 

For a child with an education, health and care (EHC) plan however, the nearest suitable school may well be different than for other pupils, and walking may not be an option.

Lancashire County Council provides a home to school transport service for pupils with special educational needs up to the age of 16, or 19 if they are continuing to attend school.

The transport is provided in a number of ways:

  • free travel permits for public transport
  • mini-bus
  • specialist mini-bus
  • taxi/people carrier
  • wheelchair accessible taxi


Where a child has special educational needs and/or disability, travel assistance is available to children who:

  • are a resident of Lancashire (not including Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen).
  • are in school year 11 or below
  • have an Education Health and Care plan


  • have a placement at the nearest qualifying mainstream school as named in the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.


  • have a placement at the nearest qualifying special school as named in the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan


  • have a placement at a specialist resource provision or special educational needs unit as named in the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.

The placement should be:

  • Over 2 miles away for pupils under the age of 8
  • Over 3 miles away for pupils aged 8-16

For children who receive free school meals or whose parents are in receipt of maximum Working Tax Credit, the distance from their home address to the nearest suitable school must be:

  • More than two miles for pupils aged 8 – 11 years
  • Between two and six miles for pupils aged 11 – 16 years (providing that there are not three or more suitable nearer schools)
  • Between two and fifteen miles for pupils aged 11 – 16 years and is the nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief


  • have been assessed as having mobility difficulties or health and safety issues related to a disability or special educational needs that makes it impractical to safely walk to school.

Transport assistance is available at the start and the end of the school/college day if you:

  • are over school age and under 19 on the 31 August before your course begins
  • live in Lancashire (not including Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen).
  • have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan or can provide evidence of learning difficulties or disabilities
  • are attending a full-time course (540 guided learning hours per year/three days or more per week)
  • go to the nearest qualifying special school, sixth form or college offering the qualification/course*
  • are unable to travel to school/college unless transport assistance is provided
  • have a journey of more than three miles from home to school/college. Or are unable to travel this distance because of your special educational needs and/or disabilities.

* The nearest school/college that can provide education appropriate to your age, ability, and aptitude. Also considering any special educational needs that you have.

This is only a summary of the county council's home to school transport policy for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. It is intended to act as a guide for parents and is not a definitive statement of policy. Please see the full policy for further information or contact the Inclusion Service for advice.


Please complete the following form if you wish to be assessed for eligibility for travel assistance:

Apply for SEND transport assistance

For a paper copy of the transport application form, please ask your SEND caseworker.

Children with education, health and care (EHC) plans

SEND officers will decide whether your child gets free travel to school, using the information submitted during their statutory assessment. 

If your child is eligible for SEND transport, your SEND caseworker will let transport staff know what type of support your child needs. This will include the right type of vehicle, the correct restraint and clamping systems to be used and the level of supervision/care.

Transport arrangements will be kept under review. The annual review of your child's EHC plan provides a formal opportunity to review any transport arrangements.

If they decide that your child does not need special transport arrangements, then the general home to school travel policy will apply.

If your child does not have an EHC plan

The general home to school travel policy will apply. 

Arrangements may be made for special circumstances for example medical or social difficulties or unsuitable journeys for pupils. Please include details and supporting evidence in your application.

Parental preference and transport

If you choose to send your child to a school that Lancashire County Council does not consider to be the nearest suitable school, there is no duty to provide free transport. You will need to make your own transport arrangements.

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