Free transport to school

2. Eligibility

As a guide, your child could get free transport to school if they attend the nearest suitable school (measured by walking distance, not in a straight line) and the distance from home is:

  • 2 miles or more if your child is under 8 years old
  • 3 miles or more if they are aged 8 to 16

If you get the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit* or your children are entitled to free school meals, they could get free school transport if they:

  • Are over 8 years old, attend the nearest suitable primary school and the distance from home is 2 miles or more
  • Are in secondary school, attend one of their three nearest secondary schools and the distance to school is between 2 and 6 miles
  • Attend a school other than the nearest secondary school on the grounds of religion or belief if the school attended is the nearest of your religion and the distance is between 2 and 15 miles

Eligibility under this policy ends at the end of year 11 in secondary school.

The type of transport provided is at the county council’s discretion. Normally pupils are sent a travelpass which allows them free travel on a bus or train. In exceptional circumstances, a taxi may be provided.

If your child qualifies for free transport but travels by bicycle, you can claim an allowance.

In exceptional circumstances a car mileage allowance may be paid.

*You’ll get the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit if your annual household income is below the threshold of £7,455 (this is the threshold for the 2023/24 tax year and may change for future tax years).

Nearest school

We measure the distance to the nearest school differently when assessing for free transport and school admissions.

The nearest school is measured by:

  • walking distance for free transport
  • a straight line for school admissions

For addresses near to the County boundary the nearest suitable school may be located in a neighbouring Local Authority's area.

If you are in any doubt over the distance between your home and a school and eligibility for free transport please check with the area education office.

Moving house

If you are a low income family* and you move house within Lancashire while your child is in their final year of primary education (year 6) or the final two years of secondary education (years 10 and 11), you could get travel expenses so they can stay at the same school, providing:

  • the new address is two miles or more from the school
  • the travelling time is not excessive
  • they previously attended their nearest school

You may be asked to provide evidence of your new address and date of move.

*If you get the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit or your children are entitled to free school meals you care considered a low income family.

Other special cases

Other special arrangements may be made for other special circumstances for example medical or social difficulties or unsuitable journeys for pupils.

Please include details and supporting evidence in your application.

Further information

For more information see the school transport policies.

Not entitled to free transport

Lancashire County Council contracted school bus services are provided for children who qualify for free home to school transport.

If your child is not entitled to free transport they may still be able to travel on a contracted school bus provided by the county council.

We do not guarantee there will be space on these buses for other non-statutory pupils and parents should not expect that a space will be available for the whole time their child is at their chosen school.

If space is available, you can pay a daily fare to the driver or if you want to save money you can buy a season ticket. It might be cheaper for your child to travel on a public bus service with a discounted weekly ticket.

It is also important to note that service routes are subject to change and services which no longer carry eligible pupils risk being withdrawn.

The county council will not provide extra services for non-statutory pupils and you will need to plan how your child will get to school if space is not available.

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