Free school transport (age 5 to 16)

Children who attend the nearest qualifying school from their home address and live over the minimum distance are eligible for free home to school transport.

The minimum walking distance to qualify for free school transport is:

  • more than 2 miles for children under 8 years old
  • more than 3 miles for children over 8 years old

Walking distances are measured by the shortest available route and where a child, accompanied if necessary, can walk with safety to school.

If your child has an Early Help Care Plan (EHCP) please read the SEN Travel Assistance information.

Low income families

You can also apply for free school transport if you are on a low income. You are considered to be on a low income if your child is eligible for free school meals or if you receive the maximum amount of Working Tax Credit.

You can determine whether you are currently receiving the full element of working tax credit by checking if you have any reduction due to your income under part two of the working tax credit section. If this states anything other than zero you will not be entitled.

If you're a low-income family, your child will qualify for travel assistance if they live between two and six miles from their school and that school is determined as one of their three nearest qualifying schools.

If your child goes to a faith school

If your child attends a school for faith reasons and you are a low-income family or your child is a Medway Looked After Child, we will count this as your nearest qualifying school. If this is the case, we will provide free home to school transport if:

  • the pupil is the same faith or denomination of the school
  • the school is over the minimum eligible distance (for low-income families, it must be one of the three nearest qualifying schools of the relevant faith between two and 15 miles from the home address)

Applying for free school transport

Application forms are available from all Medway libraries, Contact Points and Community Hubs.

You can state whether a bus pass, rail pass or cash allowance is the most suitable means of travel for your child.

You must attach a passport-sized photograph of your child to the application for their travel card.

You will be notified within four weeks if your child has been granted free transport.

Read our Education Travel Assistance Policy

Request review of a free transport decision

If your child is refused free transport you can request that the decision is reviewed.

Any review request must be received within 20 working days of your decision letter and must include:

  • your child's name
  • your child's date of birth
  • the name of the school that transport is required to
  • an explanation of your individual circumstances and why your child should be offered free home to school transport

We will respond within 20 working days of your request.

If the review decides that your child is still not entitled to free transport, you may appeal against this decision. Details of how to appeal will be provided in the review response.

Read our next steps guide for more information about appealing a transport decision.

Changes to your entitlement if you move address

If you move address it may change your entitlement for travel assistance.

You must notify us of your change of address so that your entitlement to free home to school transport can be re-assessed.

If you fail to do this it may result in you owing money to the council.