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Under 16 transport to school


Eligibility

Children aged 4 to 16 who live in Surrey, are eligible for free home to school travel support if they meet the criteria outlined in our Home to School Transport Policy. 

If your child is attending school in the current academic year, please see our Home to School Transport Policy 2016–17 (PDF) or if your child will be attending school in the next academic year, please see our Home to School Transport Policy 2017–18 (PDF) . These can be summarised as follows:

Children aged 4 to 16 are eligible for free home to school travel support if they live in Surrey and:

  • they attend their nearest qualifying school which is more than two miles from their home (for children under 8) or three miles from their home (for children over 8) measured by the shortest walking route (accompanied by an adult as necessary); or
  • they are aged between 8 and 11 and are entitled to free school meals, or their families are in receipt of the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit, if they attend their nearest qualifying school and the shortest walking route (accompanied by an adult as necessary) between their home and the school is more than two miles; or
  • they are aged 11 and over and are entitled to free school meals or their families receive the maximum Working Tax Credit. These children will qualify for help with travel to one of their three nearest qualifying schools where they live between two miles (measured by the shortest walking route) and six miles (measured by the shortest road route) from the school; or
  • they are aged 11 and over and are entitled to free school meals or their families receive the maximum Working Tax Credit and they attend the nearest school based on religion or belief which is more than two miles (measured by the shortest walking route) and not more than 15 miles (measured by the shortest road route) from the home address.

Eligibility to free transport is not linked to the admission criteria of a school. For example, some junior and secondary schools may give priority for a school place to children who are attending a feeder school, but this does not confer an automatic right to free transport.

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Assessing eligibility

When assessing applications for free home to school transport for pupils under 16 we also take into account these things:

  • If, when you applied for a school place you could have applied for a nearer school which had vacancies, but chose not to, your child would not usually be eligible for free transport.
  • If you apply for a school place at a school that is not your nearest, you will be eligible for free transport only if any nearer schools are oversubscribed and you would not have been offered a place. Exceptions may apply when your nearest school is out of county and your child attends their nearest Surrey school, or if your child is entitled to transport to a secondary school on low income grounds.
  • If a different school is assessed to be the nearest school by straight line distance when applying the nearest school assessment for admissions, as defined in Surrey's admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools, free transport will also be provided to this school so long as the age and distance criteria are met.
  • If you are moving into the area, your nearest school will depend on the availability of school places at the time of your application.
  • If your child is transferring to the junior stage of education, your nearest school with places may not necessarily be a junior school. You should also check any nearer all-through primary schools that normally admit children into Year 3.
  • When considering nearest schools, schools both inside and outside the county boundary will be taken in to account.
  • We will consider the safety of the walking route when assessing transport eligibility.

You should be aware that if your child is granted transport to a school further away due to the lack of places at nearer schools, it will not necessarily follow that your younger children will also get transport to attend that school. This is because places may then be available at nearer schools for your younger children.

Please note if your child is not eligible for free transport it is your responsibility as a parent to get your child to and from school. You should consider this factor when choosing a school to apply for.

Our Transport Co-ordination Centre will allocate the type of transport (bus, coach, train, minibus/taxi or petrol allowance).

Please also see our Home to school transport frequently asked questions leaflet (PDF) for further information.

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The applications process

Reception and Year 3 entry

An application form will need to be submitted by 31 May for all children processed in the normal admissions round for entry into Reception or Year 3, where parents believe they meet the eligibility criteria for free transport.

During the first week of July the outcome of these applications will be communicated to parents.

Year 7 entry

For children processed in the normal admissions round for entry into Year 7, our Admissions and Transport team automatically assesses home to school transport for each child after the initial allocation of school places.

If your child is entitled you will hear from us by 1 July in the year of admission.

You should not complete an application form before that date, as this can cause unnecessary delay to the assessment process.

If you think your child may be entitled and you haven't heard from us by 11 July, please contact us.

Free school meals and Working Tax Credit

If you wish to apply for free transport based on your eligibility for free school meals or the maximum Working Tax Credit, you will have to complete an application. If you are successful you will be required to renew your application every year.

Late school allocations and in year admissions

In order to be considered for home to school transport needed as a result of any school allocation from July onwards and for all in year admissions, a parent has to complete an Application for Free Home to School Transport under 16 form.

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Application form

If you think you are eligible for free home to school transport under 16, please read the information above before completing the application online: 

Apply for free transport

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Successful applicants

Parents cannot choose the type of transport they will receive for their child. Wherever possible, children will be expected to travel by the cheapest form of public transport so the County Council can provide the most cost-effective service. The forms of travel assistance available are:

  • Bus passes
  • Train passes
  • Seat on a contract vehicle (coach, mini bus or taxi)
  • Reimbursements

Petrol reimbursement or public transport

Petrol reimbursement or public transport reimbursement may apply under the following circumstances:

  • Where a Surrey pass is not appropriate, such as where a child is travelling to an out of County school, parents can claim for reimbursement of the cost for their child to travel to school. Parents will be asked to submit a claim form at the end of each term and evidence of the cost of the tickets purchased must be submitted. The refund will be for the lowest equivalent public transport rate between the pupil’s home and the school.
  • Where no public transport service is available and parents take their child to school by car they may claim a petrol allowance for the journeys undertaken. The mileage rates to be used will be Surrey County Council’s approved mileage rates. The mileage to be used will be the shortest road route from the home address to the school. For car users taking more than one child, only a single application will be considered per family.

Where the team agrees in writing to provide reimbursement, you will receive a claim form and details of what can be claimed. One claim form should be completed every term and returned with tickets purchased to our: Transport Co-ordination Centre, Surrey County Council, Room 365A, County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames,
KT1 2DY.

If you require additional forms email the team as follows: passenger.transport@surreycc.gov.uk

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Unsuccessful applicants

If you live within Surrey you can complete a Transport Case Review Form (PDF) if your child has been refused transport assistance under Surrey County Council's Transport Policy, and you either believe:

  • that you have exceptional circumstances which will affect your child's journey to school,
  • that the initial transport assessment was incorrect,
  • or that the route is unsafe.

Any transport that has been agreed on the basis of an unsafe route will be withdrawn if measures are subsequently introduced to make the route safe.

Please return your completed form to: Admissions and Transport Team, Quadrant Court, 35 Guildford Road, Woking, Surrey, GU22 7QQ.

Please note, if you are not eligible for free home to school transport you could apply for a concessionary seat for your child's travel to school.

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Replacing lost or stolen bus, coach or rail cards for free travel

Bus or coach tickets

If you need to replace a stolen or lost bus or coach ticket, please email our Transport Co-ordination Centre at passenger.transport@surreycc.gov.uk or ring our Contact Centre on 0300 200 1004 to get your child’s reference number (beginning "DTS...").

You can then use our online payment form to order a duplicate ticket and pay the right fee:

  • First duplicate: £5
  • Second duplicate: £5
  • Third or any more duplicates in an academic year: £10

Pay for duplicate ticket

Alternatively, please write to our Transport Co-ordination Centre, Surrey County Council, Room 365A, County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2DY enclosing a note with your child’s name, date of birth, school attended, mode of transport and route with a cheque for the right fee payable to Surrey County Council. Replacement tickets will be posted to your home address.

Rail tickets

If you need to replace a stolen or lost train ticket, please email our Transport Co-ordination Centre at: passenger.transport@surreycc.gov.uk to ask for a duplicate season ticket application form and your child’s reference number for online payments (number begins "DTS...").

The duplicate application form will then be posted to you. Please complete and return to Transport Co-ordination Centre, Surrey County Council, Room 365, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2DY.

The fee for a replacement ticket is £10. You can either pay this online by following the link below, or by enclosing a cheque payable to Surrey County Council. Please note only one replacement rail ticket can be issued each academic year.

Pay for duplicate ticket

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