Education law

Home to school transport - Appeals

School transport sign

Your child’s eligibility for home to school transport can have a big impact on which school you choose. Find out about the eligibility criteria for home to school transport.

Criteria for home to school transport

Eligibility for home to school transport is, in the first instance, calculated by walking distance from the school. To be eligible for home to school transport, your child must be attending their nearest suitable school and live at least:

  • 2 miles from the school (for children under the age of 8)
  • 3 miles from the school (for children over the age of 8, up to age 16).

The distance is measured by the nearest available safe route on foot.   

When a child lives within walking distance of their school, the Local Authority is not ordinarily expected to provide transport. Although parents may consider the distance is simply too far for their child to walk, the law could differ. Many parents face the difficult prospect of arranging transport themselves. 

Local Authorities are obliged to provide transport for children who attend a school outside of walking distance if:

  • The child attends that school out of necessity (rather than the parent’s choice)
  • No alternative travel arrangements are suitable.

Is my child eligible for home to school transport?

Some children who are within walking distance of their school may be eligible for home to school transport. 

Children who may be eligible for home to school transport include:

  • Children who have special educational needs, disability or mobility problems (SEND) which mean they cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school (and there are no suitable alternatives to attend school nearer to home); 
  • Children who live within ‘walking distance’ of their school but who could not reasonably be expected to walk due to the nature of the routes available (and there are no suitable alternatives to attend school nearer to home). This is often the case in rural locations, where there may not be a viable safe route for children to take to school;
  • Children aged 8-11 registered at a school more than two miles from home who are entitled to free school meals (this supersedes the 3-miles rule for children up to 11 years old);
  • Excluded children who are required to attend a school other than their registered school outside of walking distance;
  • Children over the age of 11 years old who are entitled to free school meals and who are registered at a qualifying school.

However, there are exceptions to the rule. Even where a child is deemed ‘eligible’ it is important to note that if there are other suitable travel arrangements available, the Local Authority may not be required to provide home to school transport.

Home to school transport appeals

“When choosing a school, the presence of school buses at the gate each day does not automatically mean that your child is entitled to a place on one,” says Polly Kerr, Senior Associate at Tees and specialist education law solicitor. “Schools have a duty to provide transport to eligible children - unfortunately, some children are simply not eligible. School transport can be somewhat of a minefield for parents with potential to cause practical problems. It’s important that parents understand, both when applying for school places and appealing them, when the Local Authority has a duty to provide school transport and when it does not. Understandably, transport provision can have a significant impact on choice of school and the family’s daily routine,” Polly continued.

Polly helps parents who need to appeal allocation of school places and home to school transport. If you need to make an appeal, Polly has the skills and experience to guide you through the process and help secure the best possible result for you and your child.

Call Polly on 01763 295854 or email for a confidential chat about your circumstances and how we can help.

Call our specialist solicitors on 0808 231 1320

Our specialist lawyers are based in:

EssexBrentwoodChelmsford, and Saffron Walden
HertfordshireBishop's Stortford and Royston

But we can help you wherever you are in England and Wales.

Chat to the Author, Polly Kerr

Legal Director, Dispute Resolution and Litigation, Cambridge office

Meet Polly
Polly Kerr, family and school specialist in Royston
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