Travel assistance to school or college for students aged 16 to 25

Please note, there is no statutory requirement to provide travel assistance for post 16 students. However, some students, especially those with special educational needs or disability, may need support with travel arrangements to access their education or training.

For full details, please read our Travel Assistance Policy for learners aged 16 to 25.


Post-16 Independent Travel Allowance

If we agree that a student is eligible for assistance, we will provide travel assistance in the form of a post-16 Independent Travel Allowance (ITA) to support families and young people to make their own transport arrangements to develop independence and prepare for adulthood pathways. The tiered banding rates are shown below:

BandingFull year
0 to 5.99 miles£1,600
6 to 10.99 miles£2,700
11 to 15.99 miles£4,200
16 plus miles£5,000

Check your eligibility

To find out whether you may be eligible for travel assistance, please use our online home to school eligibility checker or read our eligibility guidance below.

Online eligibility checker

Students aged 16 to 19 years old

Most students aged 16 to 19 will be expected to take advantage of either the 16 to 17 Saver Card or a Surrey LINK card (for reduced rate bus and/or rail travel ages 20 and under) when they travel to education or training. However, we will exercise our discretion to provide travel assistance for students aged 16 to 19, where we consider that travel assistance is necessary to enable you to reasonably access your education or training at a:

  • school,
  • further education institution,
  • council maintained or assisted institution providing higher or further education,
  • establishment funded directly by the Education Skills Funding Agency, or a
  • learning provider delivering accredited programmes of learning, which lead to positive outcomes and are funded by the council, for example, colleges, charities, and private learning providers.

If you are a student aged 16 to 19, when assessing your eligibility for travel assistance, we will consider the following:

  • Whether you are currently in receipt of any funding from the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund (Gov.uk) and how much you receive.
  • The location of your sixth form unit or college that you would like to attend (if this is not local, we would need to know that the course being taken is not available locally).
  • Whether the sixth form unit is an extension to the school you previously attended and named in your Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).
  • The distance from your home to the education or training establishment and the journey time.
  • Whether you have special educational needs (SEND) and/or mobility difficulties which would impede your access to your educational placement, either independently or otherwise. For example, if you are a wheelchair user.
  • Whether you have a SEND which would make it unsafe for you to travel independently.
  • Whether the public transport journey to the nearest suitable placement is too complex for you to be expected to travel independently.

Financial contribution

Where it is agreed that travel assistance is required, we will ask students aged 16 to 19, or their parents/carers, to contribute towards the transport costs. For the academic year 2023/2024 the contribution will be as follows:

  • £634.89 for students whose families are in receipt of the maximum Working Tax Credit and/or who continue to meet the eligibility criteria for Free School Meals; students in care; care leavers; those on Income Support/Universal Credit in their own right; disabled young people who receive Employment Support Allowance/Universal Credit and either Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment in their name; or
  • £875.58 for all other students.

Where a Post-16 Travel Allowance has been agreed the financial contribution will not apply.

We recognise that there may be circumstances where a family or a young person experiences severe financial hardship, we have discretion to consider delaying, reducing or waiving the charge for post-16 students. To be considered, you or your parent/carer must provide the following evidence:

  • you cannot pay the financial contribution because if you do, you would not be able to meet your essential living needs and
  • you were unsuccessful in applying for a Government 16 to 19 bursary (GOV.UK) and, your provider's emergency hardship fund, if available.

We will then consider:

  • whether the financial hardship is likely to be temporary, and therefore we will consider delaying or extending the period over which the charge will be made.
  • reducing the charge to enable you or your family to meet your essential living needs.
  • if there is evidence that financial hardship is likely to be long-lasting and severe, we will consider waiving the charge entirely.

Students aged 19 to 25 years old

If you have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) we will consider whether assistance with travel is necessary to enable you to attend your education setting. If so, you will not need to provide a financial contribution.

If you are a post-19 student starting a new course and need travel assistance, you must provide the following evidence that you cannot make the travel arrangements yourself:

  • Other arrangements have you considered or tried and why they were not suitable.
  • If there is a family member or carer who is willing and able to transport you and if not, why it would not be possible or reasonable for them to do so.
  • If you are in receipt of higher rate mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance to assist with your mobility problems, but there are factors limiting its use, you should provide details of them.
  • If you have access to a 'Motability vehicle'.
  • Any other needs or circumstances that may need to be considered, along with any recent supporting evidence.

Each request will be assessed on a case by case basis, considering the law, council policy and any supporting information provided.


How to apply

If you think you may be eligible for travel assistance, please apply online:

Apply for travel assistance for children and young people aged 16 to 25

If you are starting college or any other post-16 provider in September 2023, you should submit your application as soon as your placement is confirmed. We normally receive a high number of applications for travel assistance to college placements and other settings during April and May.

For applications submitted during the summer, if contracted transport is agreed this may not be in place for the start of September. The Surrey School Travel and Assessment Team will contact you to discuss potential alternative travel options including an interim post-16 travel allowance. We will also provide key messaging to our service updates page throughout the year.

When assessing applications for children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), we may contact your SEND caseworker or the SEND Admissions team for further information.

If your allocated college provider changes, and you believe that you may be eligible for travel assistance, you should apply as soon as possible to ensure transport is in place for September.

Successful applicants

If you are eligible, you will not be able to choose the type of travel assistance you will receive and will be expected to travel by the cheapest form of transport so we can provide the most cost-effective service.

The forms of travel assistance available are:

  • A bus or rail pass to enable travel via public transport
  • A seat on a contract vehicle (coach, minibus, or taxi)
  • Reimbursements for petrol or public transport
  • If you have a Motability Scheme vehicle on order but only a provisional licence, we can provide up to 40 hours of driving lessons to help you pass your driving test - Driving Lessons Grant (motability.org.uk)

If we allocate you a seat on a contract vehicle, we will send you information about the route and provide you with pick-up times.

If we allocate you reimbursement, we will send you a claim form and details of what can be claimed. You will need to complete this at the end of each term and return it together with tickets and receipts (we cannot reimburse you for lost tickets or receipts). If you require additional forms please contact us.

Find out if you qualify for a grace period or exemption from the London ULEZ charge. You may be eligible if you're claiming certain disability benefits, meet certain medical criteria or have a DVLA registered 'disabled passenger vehicle' - Discounts and exemptions (tfl.gov.uk).

Unsuccessful applicants

If you are not eligible, you may be able to apply for a Surrey LINK card (for those aged 20 and under), or you may be able to purchase a concessionary seat on existing transport for your journey, if a spare seat is available.

You may also want to ask your college or sixth form for details of any bursary schemes they may have to help with expenses. If your application for home to school transport has been unsuccessful you can appeal the decision.

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