Who qualifies for free school transport?

In most cases East Sussex County Council provides free transport to a child’s designated school if they meet the eligibility criteria.

A designated school is the school suitable to your child which serves your area, or if there is more than one school, the nearest suitable school to your home where a place is available. If your child was not offered a place at a school which is the nearest or designated to serve your address because you did not name this on your application or were given a higher preference, you will be expected to arrange and pay for your child’s home to school transport.

1. Home to school distance

Your child will qualify for free school transport if:

  • they are over 8 years or over and live more than 3 miles (4,828 metres) away or
  • they are under 8 years and live more than 2 miles (3,218 metres) away

We assess school transport when we allocate school places. There is no need to apply. We will ask you to confirm you want us to make the transport arrangements.
We measure distances by the shortest available walking route using our Geographical Information System (GIS).

In all cases we assume your child will:

  • walk with a responsible adult,
  • have suitable clothes and footwear (for wet weather or a muddy path)
  • wear reflective bands and carry a torch if needed.

Suitable routes to school include:

  • crossing fields,
  • wooded areas,
  • bridleways,
  • public footpaths and
  • public rights of way.

What do eligible children get?

Contact the Admissions and Transport team

2. Low income families

You may get free transport to school if:

  • your family receives maximum Working Tax Credit or
  • your child is entitled to free school meals

Primary age pupils

Children 8 years and over qualify if they are from a low income family and live more than 2 miles but less than 3 miles away from the designated school.

If they live more than 3 miles they may qualify under the home to school distance criteria.

Primary church aided schools

We do not provide free transport for children to attend a denominational primary school for religious reasons.

Secondary age pupils

Children from low income families can get free transport to one of the three schools nearest to where they live. The school must be more than two miles but less than six miles away. We measure distances up to two miles by using the shortest available walking route. The six mile upper limit is measured using roads only.

Secondary church aided schools

Children from low income families who want to attend a denominational school qualify for free transport if:

  • the school is between 2 and 15 miles and
  • is the nearest school attended for reasons of religion or belief.

Grammar schools

Children from low income families qualify for free transport to the nearest grammar school if it is more than 2 miles but less than 15 miles from home.


If you think you qualify for low income help with transport please complete the online form.

3. Special educational needs and disabilities

Your child may qualify for free or part-funded transport if:

4. Not eligible?

If you are unsure, contact the Admissions and Transport Team to see if you qualify.

Find out about travel schemes and discounts available if you don’t qualify for free transport.

If your child is not on a public transport route you can make an online request for a seat on our contracted transport.

5. Transport appeals

For advice, see transport appeals.