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  5. Find out if you qualify for travel assistance

Find out if you qualify for travel assistance

Normally, parents are responsible for getting their children to school unless it's further than the statutory distance.

  • 3 miles for children over 8
  • 2 miles for children under 8

Your child must attend their designated or nearest suitable school to qualify.

We may also be able to offer assistance if:

  • they cannot walk in reasonable safety
  • you are on a low income
  • you have a medical reason that stops you from taking them (primary school only)
  • they cannot walk due to their SEND or mobility problem
  • they have SEND and an EHC plan

To apply

Choose from a menu option at the top of the page.

Please check carefully that you qualify as we cannot offer help outside the stated policies.

Does your child go to the nearest suitable or designated school?

Your child must go to the closest school with space that officially serves your area. This is called the designated school.

You will need to arrange and pay for your child's home-to-school transport if:

  • we did not offer a place at your nearest or designated school because you did not name it on your application
  • you decided to send your child to a school further away

What kind of transport will your child get?

To go to and from school, your child will get either: 

  • a ticket for public transport 
  • a seat on a hired vehicle 

We can only offer regular travel to and from your main address, to and from school at the start and end of the school day.

Regardless of the reason, we can’t offer travel at different times or going to different places. This includes trips, exams and breakfast or after-school clubs. 

We will do our best to make sure siblings travel together. 

Mileage allowance if you can arrange your own travel 

If we can’t find suitable public transport or a hired vehicle, we can offer a mileage allowance of 25p per mile. This covers two return journeys a day per family. 

What if your child doesn’t qualify for free transport?

You may be able to buy a vacant seat on a current route or access other discount travel schemes. 

Money saving travel schemes

Buy a vacant seat

When we offer your child their school place, we work out if they qualify for free transport and contact you.

You don’t need to apply. 

We’ll contact you to offer free school transport if: 

  • your child is 8 or older and lives more than 3 miles (4,828 metres) away; 
  • your child is under 8 and lives more than 2 miles (3,218 metres) away;or 
  • where your child lives within the statutory distance and the only walking route has been assessed as presenting specific road safety hazards.  

How we work out distance 

We measure distances by the shortest available walking route using our Geographical Information System (GIS), taking account of public footpaths, bridleways and public rights of way up to the statutory distances of 2 and 3 miles. Beyond these, the measurements used are road routes only.  

If you've moved house or think you've been missed

If you think your child qualifies for travel assistance and have not heard from us, you can apply for transport due to distance or route safety.

For children starting or moving school in September, please wait until July before making an application.

Your child may be able to get free transport to school if: 

  • your family gets the maximum Working Tax Credit or 
  • your child gets free school meals 

Before sending your application, please also check that you can answer yes to the relevant statements below. 

What to check before you apply - for primary-aged pupils 

  • my child is over 8 years old 
  • my child lives more than 2 miles away from the nearest school  
  • I understand East Sussex County Council doesn’t offer travel to faith primary schools if there are closer non-faith alternatives 

What to check before you apply - for secondary-aged pupils 

  • my child goes to one of the 3 schools closest from their home
  • the school is between 2 and 6 miles away
  • my child goes to a faith school, and they attend the closest one between 2 and 15 miles away

Please note that distances up to two miles are measured using the shortest available walking route. Beyond 2 miles, distances are measured using roads only. 

Complete the form

Complete the form to apply for transport if your family has a low income.

Does your child have a physical or medical condition that stops them from reasonably walking to school? Or do you have a disability that stops you from taking them? 

If so, we may be able to provide free travel.  

Before you apply, please check you can answer yes to these statements. 

  • my child attends the nearest suitable school  
  • I can supply recent medical evidence—dated within 3 months—from a doctor or consultant and I know they may charge me for this 
  • my child cannot reasonably be expected to walk because of their special educational needs, disability or mobility problem or
  • my condition is long-term and there are no other adults in my household who can take my child to school (primary school only). Help may not be agreed if the distance is very short.

If your child has an EHC plan

We apply a separate process for children who have an EHC plan.

Travel assistance for children and young people with SEND

Complete the form

Make sure your child attends their nearest suitable school and doesn't already qualify for other assistance.

Visit our SEND travel pages to check if your child or young person qualifies for travel assistance.