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Applying for school transport
Transport from home to school for pupils aged four to 16 years
Pupils who attend the nearest appropriate school from their home
address and live over the minimum distance are eligible for free
home to school transport. If the child is younger than eight years
old, the minimum distance is two miles. Otherwise the minimum
distance is three miles. This is measured by the shortest available
walking route and may take into account public footpaths and public
rights of way. The shortest available route is one along which a
child, accompanied as necessary, can walk with reasonable safety to
Children aged between eight and 11 years from low income
families also qualify if they live more than two miles from their
nearest appropriate school. Children aged 11 years or more from low
income families will also qualify if they live more than two miles
but not more than six miles from one of their three nearest
appropriate schools. This will be determined by whether or not the
children are entitled to free school meals or their parents or carers
receive the maximum level of Working Tax Credit. Proof of benefit will need
to be provided.
Children who attend a church school
If your child attends a school chosen on denominational grounds,
the council may count this as your nearest appropriate school. To
qualify, your child must be a regularly practicing member of a
church of the same denomination as the school concerned. If you
apply for travel assistance on denominational grounds
you will need your vicar or priest to sign the appropriate section
of the travel form. The minimum distances still apply.
The mode of transport your child will use
The routes that your child will travel and the type of transport
is determined by the council so that it can get the best value for
money. A choice of transport is not therefore offered to parents. A
child will only be given assistance to use more than one means of
travel if it is not possible to complete the journey by one mode of
Claiming cash rather than a season ticket
It is only possible to do this in limited circumstances. For
example, a cash allowance may be given if there is no hired
transport or public bus service available. It will not be offered
simply because a child or their parent or carer does not like the
mode of transport or service offered. It is calculated at 12pence
per mile for one return journey each day. The largest cash
allowance that can be granted is £360 per family, per year.
Children who do not qualify for free transport
Children who do not qualify for free home to school travel can
sometimes be offered a seat under the Vacant Seat
Payment Scheme (VSPS). Under this scheme, any unfilled seats on
vehicles hired by the council to take entitled children to school
can be offered to pupils who are not eligible for free travel.
The cost for the academic year September 2012 to July 2013 is
£177 per term.
- Term 1 - September to December
- Term 2 - January to March
- Term 3 - April to July
This fee is payable in three instalments and an invoice
will be sent to your home address to enable payment.
Please note that travel under VSPS is not available on public
bus or train services. It is possible that a VSPS seat may have to
be withdrawn at a later date if it is needed for a child who is
entitled to free transport, if the council decides to stop running
that vehicle or if it decides to run a smaller vehicle.
Travel to school on the first day of term
At the start of September a child should use the letter stating
that they are eligible for free home to school transport or their
ticket from the previous year to travel on the first day. Tickets
should be collected from the school on arrival that day. If you
apply for a ticket at any other time other than September your
ticket can either be sent to your home address or can be collected
Applications in future years
Tickets are valid for one academic year only. If at any point
during this time your child changes address or school (including a
change of school site) you will need to notify the Student Services
Operations Team. Otherwise the ticket will be renewed without you
completing any new forms. If you are granted free travel on the
grounds of low income your application will need to be reassessed
and further proof of benefit will need to be provided before free
travel can continue the following year.
If your child is refused free transport
You can ask for the decision to be reviewed by writing to the
council's Student Services Operations Manager using the contact
details below. If you remain unhappy with the decision and believe
that you have a special case for receiving assistance with your
child's travel, you can ask for your case to be considered by a
panel of Medway councillors at a school transport appeal.
Other educational schemes
If your child is travelling to Silverbank Park or The Will Adams
Centre, on a managed transfer through Medway Council’s inclusions
team or participating in another educational scheme they may be
entitled to free travel as long as the site of education is over
the minimum walking distance.
Any ticket issued to a pupil will be subject to the conditions
of travel of the bus or train operating company. If you accept a
ticket, you and your child accept these conditions. If your child
misbehaves on a bus or train his or her ticket may be withdrawn and
you would then have to make your own daily arrangements.
Any ticket issued can only be used on school days, for one
return journey each day between the points shown on the ticket and
not for any other journey, unless otherwise stated.
The child named on the ticket is the only person entitled to use
it. If your child gives his or her ticket to another child to use
or if your child uses another child's ticket, both may be liable to
prosecution by the bus or train operating company.
If you child no longer needs a ticket, it is your responsibility
to return it to the Student Services Operations Team without
Completing the application form
Please complete the application form as accurately as possible
and return it to the address shown. You should hear within four
weeks whether or not your child will be granted free transport.
Please note that most bus and train companies issue tickets which
include photo cards and therefore the council will also need a
photograph of your child. When returning your completed application
form, please ensure that a passport-sized photograph is fixed to
your application form.
Once secondary school places for Year 6 pupils are allocated in
March, the council will automatically assess every pupil for
transport assistance. If your child qualifies, the team will send
you confirmation in writing and ask for you to provide a
passport-sized photograph of your child.
If you have not received confirmation by the end of June, it
means that your child is not eligible for transport assistance. If
you believe that this decision is not correct or that your child’s
circumstances warrant an exception to be made, you can submit an
application enclosing a letter explaining your individual
Applications for free travel other than for September must be
received four weeks before the date your child starts school. All
passes will be posted first class to your home address or can be
collected by arrangement.
Application forms are available from schools or the Student
Services Operations Team.
Please note: Rail passes issued through Medway
Council cannot be used on high speed train services.
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