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School transport for 5 to 16 year olds

Your child may be able to get free transport to school if they live further from their school than the walking distance allowed by law or if you’re on a low income. It will depend on where you live and which school your child goes to.

Eligibility for free school transport

Your child can get a free bus or train travel pass if they’re primary age children (up to 11 years old) who live more than 2 miles walking distance and secondary age children (11 to 16 years old) who live more than 3 miles walking distance to:

  • their nearest school

And, in addition to either

  • their nearest Leicestershire school

Or

  • their frozen area school

Your child won’t qualify for free transport if you choose a school that isn’t their nearest Leicestershire or frozen area school.

Frozen-area schools

If your child lives in the catchment area of a school that has had its catchment area and age range frozen since 2012, we will work out the distance from this school or their nearest school. These schools are known as ‘frozen-area schools’. 

Children living in a frozen area will only be provided transport to the frozen area school or their nearest school. Where the nearest school is not the frozen area school and is in another local authority e.g. Leicester city, there will be no additional entitlement to any other Leicestershire school.

What counts as the nearest school

We measure distances using MapInfo, a highly accurate mapping tool.

To work out which is your nearest school or college, we measure the distance from the centre line of the road outside your home to the entrance of the nearest school or college.  If you live less than the qualifying distance of 2 or 3 miles we measure the shortest available walking route from your home and may include footpaths, bridleways and roads.

If you live over the 2 or 3 miles walking distance we would measure the route a car would take.

If you live near the county border, your nearest school may be in another county.

Split parenting

If your child lives part of the week at another home, they’ll only get transport from 1 of their homes, if they are eligible. Your child will qualify for transport from the home at which they spend more than 50% of their school week.

Applying for free school transport

You do not need to complete any application form.

You’ll receive an email or letter from us if your child is eligible for free transport to school:

  • Children aged 4+ years and starting school for the first time will hear from us by the end of May before the start of the new school year
  • Children aged 10, 11 or 14 years and moving school will hear from us by the end of April before the start of the new school year

Your child will usually get a place on a contract school bus, a pass for public transport or, in some cases, a taxi place.

If you’re not eligible

If your child does not qualify for free school transport, you can:

Further Reading

Home to School / College Transport Policy 2016 - 2017   Opens new window

Home to School / College Transport Policy 2017 - 2018    Opens new window

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