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Frequently asked questions

Routes to school and eligibility for transport

I don't meet the distance criteria to school. However, I believe the route to school is dangerous so transport should be provided

We'll need to assess whether the route contains specific factors that make it particularly hazardous, so it cannot be walked along in reasonable safety.

A route will not automatically be classed as dangerous or unavailable if there are no paths, pavements or streetlights, as most roads in rural areas do not contain these features. A combination of factors needs to exist before we'll consider the route to be unavailable.

Assessments are about the physical nature of the route and do not include criteria related to perceived moral danger. Routes are assessed on the basis that a child is accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult.

Please read our Appendix 2 - Criteria for home to school walking route assessments in our Home to school and college transport policy (PDF) [332KB] to see our assessment criteria, which is taken from national road safety guidelines. The same rules apply when assessing routes to bus stops.

How do you measure the shortest available walking route?

Walking routes are measured using all public rights of way, which is not necessarily the same as the route by car. Our geographical information software system is based on Ordnance Survey data, the most accurate available.

All distances are measured from the Post Office address point of the home to the nearest pedestrian school gate.

I don't qualify for school transport, but I can't accompany my child to school and wouldn't expect them to walk alone. Can transport be provided? 

We're not responsible for transport in this instance. If you are unable to accompany your child to school, it's still your parental responsibility to ensure your child attends school and how you fulfil this legal obligation is your responsibility.

I have a health condition that prevents me accompanying my child to school. Will transport be provided under these circumstances?

No: if you live too close to your catchment or local school to automatically receive school transport, but you're unable to accompany your child due to health issues, we're not responsible for school transport.

If families are struggling to ensure their child attends school, they should firstly see if other friends or family can help. If not, talk to the school or apply through other channels, such as The Early Help Hub.

When you live within the qualifying walking distance, it's your legal duty to get your child to school, however difficult the circumstances.

We live too close to school to qualify for school transport, but my child has mobility issues or a severe medical condition. Will we be eligible for transport?

This is something we may consider, although the child must be attending the catchment or nearest appropriate school and we'll ask for third party medical evidence.