School Transport - Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

If your child is assessed as eligible for transport assistance they may receive either Council-organised transport (COT) or a Personal Transport Budget (PTB).



You’ll need to apply for transport assistance if your child is:

  • Aged 2-4
  • Going to a specialist nursery more than 2 miles from home
  • Going to Sketchley Menphys Nursery School if they live to the west of the M1 motorway
  • Going to Wigston Menphys Nursery School if they live to the east of the M1 motorway

We will still consider your child for transport assistance if you live less than 2 miles from the nursery and their sensory, physical, medical or behavioural difficulties stop them from getting to school even with help from a parent or carer.

5 - 16 year olds

Your child will qualify for free SEND school transport if they:

  • have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and are attending the school allocated by the Local Authority, identified in their most current EHCP as meeting their needs, or a nearer qualifying school


  • Live more than 2 / 3 miles (primary/secondary) from their allocated school. 

We will still consider your child for free school transport if you live less than 2 / 3 miles from the allocated school and they don’t have an EHCP but their sensory, physical, medical or behavioural difficulties stop them from getting to school even with help from a parent or carer.

Post 16

The standard offer of transport assistance for students aged 16-19 is a Personal Transport Budget (PTB). A PTB is a direct payment to you and is designed to help you to get your child to school/college. It replaces council-organised transport (COT). For more information see our Frequently Asked Questions.

The legislation that applies to 19+ students is slightly different and for that reason, families of this group will continue to be able to choose between council-organised transport (COT) and a PTB.

16 to 18 year olds attending a school

Your child will qualify for transport assistance if they:

  • have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and are attending the school allocated by the Local Authority, identified in their most current EHCP as meeting their needs, or a nearer qualifying school.


  • live more than 3 miles from their allocated school.

16 to 25 year olds attending a further education college/free-standing sixth form college

Your child will qualify for transport assistance if:

  • they are going to a full-time college course (648 hours in an academic year)
  • they live more than 3 miles from the college

and either

  • the college they are going to is the nearest college to offer the course


they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and are attending the school allocated by the Local Authority, identified in their most current EHCP as meeting their needs, or a nearer qualifying school.

If your child's circumstances change please tell us as soon as possible.

Council-organised transport (COT)

Council-organised transport may be a fleet minibus or taxi or a bus pass for use on public transport. The transport provided will depend on the child’s needs and may include picking up and dropping off at the home address and/or an escort to travel with them.

Personal Transport Budgets (PTBs)

A Personal Transport Budget (PTB) is an alternative to being allocated school transport by us. It gives you the freedom to make your own transport arrangements and to receive a personal payment, with the value based on the distance being travelled.

A PTB is an option for all pupils who are eligible for transport assistance.  For 16-18 year olds, it is the standard offer of transport assistance, COT is granted by exception only.


There is a £660 charge for transport assistance per academic year for each non-statutory school aged child (under 5 and 16-19) attending a nursery, sixth form or college.

If you are on a low income and meet the criteria explained below the charge will be reduced by 50% to £330.

The annual charge per child is reduced proportionally if the start date for transport assistance is part-way through the academic year.

For Personal Transport Budgets (PTB) instead of an upfront charge your PTB payments will be reduced pro rata by the charge throughout the year. Please see Personal Transport Budgets for more details.

If you’re on a low income

In the application form, on the Charges and reductions section, choose ‘yes’ for the question ‘Are you claiming reduction to the charge’. Then choose 1 of:

  • Free School Meals (or qualifying benefit) - if your child gets free school meals or you’re on any of the qualifying benefits
  • Maximum Working Tax Credit

Maximum Working Tax Credit

You can upload proof of your benefits or Working Tax Credit on the form or you can post it.

If you don’t have the proof now, you can choose ‘no’ for the question "Are you claiming a reduction to the charge" and you can send us proof that you’re on a low income later, and we will cancel your payments and refund any money we have taken (if you are due money back) or amend your PTB payments to the correct amount.

Do I need to apply?

For transport assistance at the start of the next academic year (2024/25):

16-18 year olds need to apply every year - the deadline for the 2024/25 academic year is 21 April 2024.

Nursery age and 19+ children need to apply every year - the deadline for the 2024/25 academic year is 31 May 2024.

School age children (5-15 year olds) do not need to apply every year, except when one of the following applies:

  • You are applying for transport for the first time
  • You move address
  • You change school or school campus/site
  • Your child’s needs change and this might affect their risk assessment or transport arrangements
  • You currently have Council-organised transport (COT), but would like a Personal Transport Budget (PTB)
  • You currently have a PTB, but would like COT

For transport assistance required this academic year (2023/24): You can apply at any time during the academic year once your school placement is confirmed.

Apply for SEND school transport


Do not apply for school transport until you have a finalised EHCP* for the school you are applying for (*not applicable to nursery age children).

Please note we are installing a new Assisted Transport Service IT system during April and May 2024. Due to the implementation of the new system you may experience delays in our communications and responses. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work towards delivering improved systems and processes for the future.

The online application form normally takes around 20 minutes to complete.

The stages in the application process are the same for both a Personal Transport Budget (PTB) and council-organised transport (COT). We'll email you each time it moves to the next stage, so you'll always know where you stand:

SEND School Transport Applications process
  • Checking Eligibility When your application comes in we check your child's eligibility for the type of transport assistance you have applied for.
  • Awaiting Further Information Sometimes we need to wait for something to be able to make a decision on your child's eligibility - we will let you know. This can include:
    • A current EHCP from our SENA team
    • A copy of a medical report from you
    • Proof of payment reduction from you
    • School timetable from you or the school
  • Assessing Transport Requirements Your child is eligible, so we will look at their specific needs to ensure we provide the right level of transport assistance.
  • Arranging Transport Assistance Putting in place the assistance that has been confirmed for your child. Please note that the term “transport assistance” is used to describe the options of EITHER a Personal Transport Budget (PTB) or council-organised transport (COT).
  • Transport Assistance Offered A formal offer letter will be emailed to you.

In addition:

  • We will only be able to consider offering your child transport assistance on receipt of a completed application form.
  • We may contact you to find out more about your child to make sure they get the most suitable transport assistance.
  • In-year transport applications will take up to 15 working days from the date that we receive the form to organise transport assistance (this can be up to 6 weeks in busy periods, e.g. the start of a new academic year).
  • For next academic year applications, we aim to have transport in place for the start of term for applications received by the following dates:
    • 16-18 year olds - 21 April 2024
    • All other students - 31 May 2024
    Applications received after these dates are not guaranteed to have transport assistance in place for the start of the 24/25 academic year.
  • 16-18 year olds who have been granted council-organised transport on appeal will have this arranged within 4 weeks of your decision letter (or for the start of term if that is later).

Online applications

You’ll need to use a 'Self' account to make your online application.

This enables you to track its progress in your My Requests area, and allows us to better keep you up to date.

If you don't have a Self account yet, just Sign up using your email address:

  • You will receive a verification email (check spam/junk folders) – just click the link in the email to verify your account, then add your name, address and contact details in the Profile form and click Submit

If you already have a Self account – please ensure your address and contact details are up to date BEFORE you begin your application.

What you will need

Please have a clear, readable photo, screenshot or electronic document of the following items, if applicable, ready to upload with your application:

  • For Personal Transport Budget applications – a redacted recent bank statement showing the account holder's name and address, account number, sort code and date
  • For Personal Transport Budget low income applications – your tax credit award notice TC602(A)
  • A copy of your child’s Individual Care Plan (ICP) and/or Emergency Medical Protocol (EMP)
  • If you have a Medical Report for your child, uploading this can speed up processing of your application

Apply online for school transport assistance

Applying online is quicker and easier, but if you don’t have an email address, please contact our customer services team to request a paper application form. Call waiting times might be considerable as we regularly deal with high numbers of calls.

Further information

Tell us about a change of details

Tell us as soon as possible about any of the following changes:

  • If you move house or your child moves to a different address
  • If you change your name or your child changes their name
  • If you take your child out of school or move them to a different school
  • If there is a change to your child's SEND condition

Depending on the change it may be necessary for your child’s eligibility to be re-assessed. We will complete this as soon as possible, but please be aware that at peak times there could be a delay in your application being re-assessed.

Follow these steps:

  1. Update YOUR details, if they have changed, in your Self account Profile
  2. Fill in the School Transport change of details notification - log in with your Self account details

How to appeal a decision regarding transport.

SEND home to school and college transport policy

The SEND Home to school/college transport policy includes detailed information on all aspects of the service, please also refer to this when applying.

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