School transport - secondary

Free transport from home to school

  • The council has a duty to provide free transport between home and school for children of secondary school age who live more than three miles from the appropriate school (this is termed the statutory walking distance). The appropriate school will be the designated catchment area school (or schools) for your home address provided it has a place available – distances are measured by the shortest safe walking route. This will be measured by computer. If you are unable to obtain a place at your catchment area school then free transport will be provided if the council is unable to offer you an alternative school within three miles of your home.
  • If you choose not to apply for the appropriate school and apply for a school beyond the statutory walking distance from your home, you will not be entitled to free transport unless you have a low income.
  • Most children living in Brighton & Hove do not qualify for free transport as they will live within the statutory walking distance.
  • Children attending schools outside Brighton & Hove will only qualify for help with transport if that school is regarded as the appropriate school.
  • Help will not be given with transport to independent schools.
  • Please click here for a link to Brighton & Hove Buses 'Your School Journey' information

Families with a low income

  • Children entitled to free school meals or whose parents are in receipt of their maximum level of working tax credit (WTC) have a greater entitlement to free transport. If any of their three nearest schools is more than two miles but not more than six miles from their home, they will be entitled to free transport to that school if they obtain a place there.  However, they will not be entitled to free transport to any of their three nearest schools which is less than two miles from their home.
  • When a person is first awarded Tax Credits or following a change in their household circumstances, HM Revenue and Customs issue a 'tax credit awards notice' detailing the breakdown and amount of the award. Part 2 of the award notice gives details of 'How we work out your tax credits' including details of the full WTC elements. This is the maximum amount a customer can receive in WTC in any year. It then lists 'any reduction due to your income' and shows the net amount payable. It is, therefore, readily apparent from the award notice whether a person is receiving maximum WTC or a reduced sum due to income. Only those with the maximum WTC will be entitled to the greater entitlement to free school transport.
  • If you are claiming entitlement to school transport on the grounds of low income, you must inform the council's home to school transport team that you are doing so. The telephone number is 01273 295196 or you can write via the school admissions team. You will need to say whether your child is entitled to free school meals, which we can check against our records or that you receive the maximum WTC. In the case of the WTC you will be asked to provide your award notice as proof of receipt. You should contact the home to school transport team as soon as possible after you know which school your child has been allocated.

Special needs and special reasons for transport

  • If your child is not entitled to free transport because of distance, help may still be given if he / she is not fit to walk to school or attends a special school.
  • We will require a letter confirming this from your GP or the consultant working with your child.
  • Pupils attending special schools will have their transport needs individually assessed in consultation with parents / carers.

Transport to the appropriate school

  • If a child is entitled to free transport the council will usually meet the full cost of travel on public services or provide a seat on a hired vehicle and will issue season tickets or special travel permits, as appropriate.
  • In exceptional circumstances the council may agree to pay a mileage rate to parents / carers who wish to make their own arrangements. This will normally be paid only where there is no public transport to the appropriate school or the appropriate school is outside Brighton & Hove and special agreement has been given in advance.

Behaviour on transport

  • Children travelling to school, whether on public transport or in hired vehicles, will be expected to behave reasonably and treat drivers, other travellers and members of the public with courtesy and consideration.
  • Any breach of acceptable behaviour will be dealt with through the school’s disciplinary procedures and if serious, could result in the council reviewing a child’s transport arrangements.
  • In some cases that could mean the temporary or permanent removal of entitlement to travel on a particular route.

Complaints about school transport

Any complaints from parents / carers about home to school transport will be investigated immediately. Where the complaint is upheld, steps will be taken to rectify the situation by whatever means necessary. If you have a complaint please telephone 01273 293501.

Please note: the council no longer provides discretionary transport assistance to church voluntary aided schools. Free transport will be provided for any children who are eligible under the criteria that apply to all children - ie, those who are attending their nearest school but who live more than three miles from the school or more than two miles if the family has a low income.