Apply for under 16 travel assistance to school

Once you have a confirmed place at your chosen school, you can apply online for home to school travel assistance. The nearest suitable school for travel assistance will be the closest to your home address that can offer a school place.

Check your eligibility

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

Online eligibility checker

If eligible, we will allocate one of the following types of travel assistance:

  • Bus pass
  • Train pass
  • Independent Travel Allowance (ITA) to use towards petrol or public transport
  • Shared contract transport (coach, minibus, taxi) using home collection or a collection point
  • Independent Travel Training (ITT)

How to apply

Please use the link below to apply using our online application form:

Apply for free travel assistance for children under 16 years of age

If you have changed address since applying for travel assistance, you will need to complete a change of address form

If you apply later in the year for a school place, or your allocated school changes and you believe that you may be eligible for travel assistance, you should apply as soon as possible.

Eligibility guidance

When considering who is eligible for free home to school travel assistance, we take various factors into account:


Your child may be entitled to free travel assistance if they attend their nearest suitable school, inside or outside Surrey, where the distance from home to school is:

  • more than 2 miles from home for children aged under 8, or
  • more than 3 miles from home for children aged 8 and over

This will be measured via the nearest available safe walking distance or road route.

Low income

Your child may be eligible for free travel assistance if they are entitled to free school meals or you get the maximum level of Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.

Children aged between 8 and 11 living more than 2 miles from their nearest suitable school may be eligible for free travel assistance. The 2 mile limit will be measured via the nearest available safe walking distance or road route.

Children in Year 7 to Year 11 (compulsory secondary school age) who are eligible will get free transport either to:

  • 1 of the 3 nearest schools within 6 miles of the child's home. This is where the child lives between 2 and 6 miles from that school, or
  • the nearest school preference based on the family's religion or belief. The school must be the nearest school to the home address having regard to the relevant religion or belief, and be within 2 and 15 miles of the home address.

Exceptional circumstances

We recognise that in some cases, you or your child may have circumstances that prevent you from travelling to school safely. Exceptional circumstances are assessed on a case-by-case basis and require supporting evidence from you in order to reach a decision.

Exceptional circumstances may include (but are not limited to):

  • You or your child having a medical condition or disability, which prevents safe travel to school.
  • Unforeseen accidents/medical procedures that may prevent you from transporting your child as usual.
  • Where the walking route to school is deemed unsafe for a child to use.

If you do not choose your nearest school

Your child will not usually be eligible unless one of the following applies:

  • Your nearest school is full and would not offer you a place. The same may not apply to younger siblings when they attend, if places are available.
  • The school is out of county and your child attends their nearest Surrey school.
  • Your child is eligible for support on low income grounds.
  • Your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), and the nearest school does not meet their needs.

Children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

Travel assistance to start in September

If you are applying for travel assistance to start in September, you should submit your application as soon as possible.

Our busiest period is between March and September where we are assessing a high number of applications and we will make every effort to ensure you are notified of the outcome as quickly as possible.

Please note that if you submit your application later in the calendar year, travel arrangements may not be in place for the start of September. We will contact you to discuss what other support can be provided and if there difficult with accessing the school placement remote learning can be offered. If there are delays to the processing of your application, we will notify you as soon as possible. Guidance regarding in-year applications also applies to children with an EHCP.

Is your child attending the nearest suitable school to meet their SEN needs?

If your child's EHCP has a transport caveat in Section I of the most recent final EHCP, this means that the local authority (LA) found that a nearer appropriate/suitable school could have met your child's needs. The caveat should look similar to this:

'From September 2023: Details of parental preference school

The LA confirms the closest suitable school is XXXXX school/college. The parents have expressed a preference for XXXXX School/college. XXXX can attend XXXXX on the condition the parents pay the cost of transport.'

The LA must name both the parental choice school and the school they deem to be nearer appropriate within this caveat.

For the caveat to be applied correctly the Dudley Test must be followed, this means that before applying the transport caveat to Section I of your child's final EHCP the LA will have:

  1. Established whether both schools are in fact suitable, and whether arrangements could be made for the child to attend the LA's choice of school (i.e. a place is available).
  2. If both schools are suitable, the cost of providing transport to both should be established and taken into account when considering whether the parent's choice is incompatible with the efficient use of resources
  3. Only if the total cost of the parent's choice of school compared to the LA's choice of school PLUS transport is so significant as to represent an inefficient use of resources, then the LA can name two schools, with the condition the parents provide transport to their choice of school

If your child is a Looked After Child (LAC)

The term 'Looked After Child' (LAC) refers to a child who is in the care of the local authority.

In line with national guidance and standard eligibility criteria, we will consider travel assistance applications for children who are looked after, along with any exceptional circumstances that accompany an application.

An exceptional circumstance means situations where due to health, medical, financial, or specific personal reasons, a parent or carer is unable to accompany their child to their education setting.

We aim to prioritise any request for a Looked After Child. A parent/carer must ensure that they indicate that the child is 'LAC' on the application form. This will signal that it is a priority request to be considered by the Surrey School Travel and Assessment Team.

Bulk travel assistance assessment (secondary transfer)

Families of children who are transferring to secondary school in September will be notified if they are eligible for travel assistance by the 22 March 2024. This is a separate process and if it is established that you're eligible for assistance we will close this application. Otherwise, we will proceed with the assessment as normal.

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