Home to School Transport

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Home to School Transport

What is it?

Home to school transport is transport to and from school, arranged by the local authority (LA), free of charge to the pupil.

When should it be provided?

The LA must provide transport for an eligible pupil if there are no other arrangements in place to get them to school free of charge.

An eligible pupil is one who is of compulsory school age, attending the nearest qualifying school, and who meets one of the following criteria:

  • because of their special educational needs, disability, or mobility problems they cannot reasonably be expected to walk to the school
  • they cannot reasonably be expected to walk because of the nature of the route(s)
  • they are outside walking distance and no suitable alternative arrangements have been made
  • they are entitled to free school meals

A ‘qualifying school’ is a maintained mainstream or SEN school, academy, alternative provision or pupil referral unit, or a non-maintained special school. An independent school is only a ‘qualifying school’ in prescribed circumstances.

What are the rules for SEND pupils?

The key consideration for a SEND pupil is whether they could walk to school if accompanied; and if so, whether it is reasonable for the LA to expect a parent to accompany them. There is no requirement for the pupil to be beyond statutory walking distance or to have an EHCP.

Factors the LA should take into account include, but are not limited to, whether the parent has a disability or mobility problem that would make it difficult for them to accompany the pupil, and the parent’s reasons for not being able to accompany the pupil or make other suitable arrangements.

Where the local authority determines the pupil would be able to walk if accompanied, the general expectation is a parent will accompany them or make other suitable arrangements for their journey to and from school.

If the LA determines the pupil could not reasonably be expected to walk even if accompanied, they are eligible for free home-to-school travel regardless of whether a parent could accompany them or make other arrangements for their journey.

What must be provided?

In most cases the LA will offer the pupil a space in a contracted bus or taxi. This does not necessarily mean door to door transport - it can be lawful to use pick up points other than the pupil’s home.

Alternatively, and subject to parents’ consent, the LA may provide an escort to accompany the pupil; payment of travel expenses; or payment of a mileage allowance.

What else do parents need to know?

The LA has a discretionary power to provide transport for pupils who do not meet the eligibility criteria above, but for whom the LA agrees it is ‘necessary’ to provide transport. It is also possible for home to school transport to be provided for a disabled pupil under social care legislation.

If the LA refuses to provide transport, parents can appeal to the LA itself. If unsuccessful, parents could consider a complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO), or an application for judicial review.

We have a proven record in LA Transport appeals and offer a fixed fee service for transport issues. Call 0118 952 7219 to speak to one of our team.

I am so happy at the outcome, I don't think we would have had such a comprehensive service from any other law firm, and you took the worry away...I do not regret a single second of the whole process, apart from the bit before you got involved. 

James' mother, Boyes Turner client

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