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School transport

As a parent, it's your responsibility to make sure your child attends school, and in most cases transport and associated costs are the responsibility of the family. In some cases we're able to offer help with transport.


What follows is a summary of who is eligible for transport assistance, and how you can apply as a parent or carer of a child who lives in Derbyshire, for help to attend school or other place of learning.

This includes children with special educational needs or disabilities.

This information is only for children attending school up to the end of year 11. There is a separate post-16 policy for students who continue in education after this point.

For full details please refer to the relevant policy document attached to this page.

Eligibility for children of compulsory school age

In Derbyshire, home to school transport arrangements will be made for children of compulsory school age, attending a maintained school, college or academy, who meet any of the following eligibility criteria until they complete their studies at the end of year 11:

  • the child attends the normal area school, a school closer than the normal area school, or the nearest suitable school determined by us
  • the child lives beyond the statutory walking distance from that school

The statutory walking distance includes the distance travelled by wheelchair or mobility aids and is:

  • 2 miles for children under the age of 8
  • 3 miles for children aged 8 and above

(Education Act 1996, Section 444(5)).

How the distance is measured

Home to school distance is measured from the address, at which the child lives during the normal school week. Where the child shares equal time between different parental addresses, eligibility will normally be assessed from the property nearest to the school attended.

Distances will normally be measured:

  • by the 'shortest available walking route', which is defined as the shortest route along which a child, accompanied as necessary, may walk safely
  • the route measured may include footpaths, bridleways, and other pathways, as well as recognised roads

The assistance on offer

Families entitled to transport assistance will normally be provided with a free bus pass. This may be for travel on a dedicated school bus or a public bus service.

For families who live in rural areas where no suitable bus service is available, we may offer a refund of petrol expenses.

Assistance for families on low income

The Education and Inspections Act 2006 introduced additional right to transport assistance for families with low incomes. This is known as 'extended rights'. More information is available in the policy document attached to this page.

Assistance to faith schools

We no longer provide transport assistance to faith schools but you may still be entitled if your family is on a low income. More information is in the policy document attached to this page.

Assistance for children with special educational needs

If your child is in receipt of an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) we may be able to organise transport for eligible students aged 2 to 25 with special educational needs attending schools and colleges.

Applying for travel assistance

If you feel you may be entitled to transport assistance please apply online.

Apply for home to school transport assistance

Year 7 secondary intake

Many year 6 pupils transferring to secondary school will be automatically assessed for eligibility for home to school transport and notified by 15 May prior to transfer in September.

Parents and carers who do not receive a letter by 30 April should apply as soon as possible after 15 May.

If you have any questions about entitlement to travel assistance, email admission.transport@derbyshire.gov.uk

If you have any questions about school bus services, routes, and charges email schooltransport@derbyshire.gov.uk

Children travelling without a free bus pass

Students who aren't entitled to any help with transport costs may still be able to travel and pay a fare to the driver for each journey they make. However, this is only available on school bus services that are registered to take paying passengers. Typically, services that are not available to fare paying pupils are those that use minibuses.

Families can apply to buy a pass for transport on these services. For more information, email: schooltransport@derbyshire.gov.uk

Other help with travel costs

You may be able to get help with travel costs through our b_line travel scheme for all young people aged 11 to 18.