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 safely to school.

If your child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan please read the special educational needs (SEN) travel assistance information.

Low income families

You can also apply for free school transport if you’re on a low income.

You’re 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 find out if you're currently receiving the full element of Working Tax Credit by checking if you have any reduction due to your income under part 2 of the Working Tax Credit section. If this states anything other than 0, you will not be entitled.

If you're a low-income family, your child will qualify for travel assistance if:

  • they live between 2 and 6 miles from their school
  • the school is determined as one of their 3 nearest qualifying schools.

If your child goes to a faith school

If your child attends a school for faith reasons and you’re a low-income family or your child is a Medway looked-after child, we'll count this as your nearest qualifying school.

If this is the case, we’ll 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 3 nearest qualifying schools of the relevant faith between 2 and 15 miles from the home address).

Apply for free school transport

You can apply for free school transport for children at mainstream schools by completing our online travel assistance form.

You'll need to tell us:

  • your details, including your contact information and relationship to the child
  • the child's details, including their name, age, year group and address
  • the name and address of the child's education provider
  • if the child is currently receiving travel assistance
  • if the child has changed address or education provider.

You may also need to:

  • tell us the name of the church the child attends and the contact details of the vicar or priest, if the child goes to a faith school
  • tell us your National Insurance number, if the child receives free school meals 
  • upload evidence if you receive the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.

You can tell us if a bus pass, rail pass or fuel allowance is the most suitable means of travel for your child. Fuel allowance is paid at 13.5p per mile for 2 return journeys per day. This is on school days only.

Year 6 pupils transferring to secondary school in September 2024 will be automatically assessed for home to school transport, therefore please do not apply. Decisions will be sent by letter in early July.

Apply for mainstream school travel assistance

After you apply

You’ll be notified within 4 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.

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.

Find out how to appeal 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 reapply so that your entitlement to free home to school transport can be reassessed.

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