This transport policy statement is for:

  • students aged 16 to 19 in further education
  • continuing students aged 19 and over
  • young adult learners aged 19 and over in further education with an EHCP (Education and Health Care Plan)

Academic year 2023 to 2024

Under 19 years of age  

According to National Guidance on Post 16 transport and travel support to education and training there is no legal requirement for a council to provide free or subsidised travel support to young people of sixth form age.

Councils do have a duty to prepare and publish an annual transport policy statement which explains what transport and travel arrangements there are locally for pupils of sixth form age to get to further education.

Sixth form age refers to young people who are over 16 years of age but under 19 or continuing learners who started their programme of learning before their 19th birthday (years 12,13,14).

Over 19 years of age with an Education Health and Care Plan

The council also has a duty to encourage, enable and assist young people with the most severe disabilities with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), with no other means of transportation, to participate in education and training, up to the age of 25.

The adult duty applies only to young people who are attending a course that they started after their 19th birthday. If the council provides transport for adult learners under this duty, it must be free.

This policy statement uses the term post-16 to include:

  • learners of sixth-form age
  • learners with learning difficulties or learning disabilities from 19 up to the age of 25

Education or training refers to: 

  • learning or training at a school 
  • a further education institution 
  • a council-maintained or assisted institution providing higher or further education 
  • an establishment funded directly by the Education Skills Funding Agency 
  • learning providers delivering accredited programmes of learning which lead to positive outcomes and are funded by the council, for example, colleges, charities and private learning providers

Aims and objectives

This policy statement seeks to ensure that students from Brighton & Hove are able to:

  • continue in further education
  • access information to help them to do so

This includes knowing what transport options are available and where to get help for support with transport costs.

The council aims to have a clear policy that families understand, to:

  • enable learners to make informed choices about where to study post 16
  • signpost them to other available support as appropriate

Active travel

Active travel is the term used to describe getting around the city in a way that's healthy for people and better for the environment, including:

  • walking
  • cycling
  • wheeling
  • using existing public transport

Students who are able to do so, are encouraged to travel to school or college using Active Travel options wherever possible.

How we support active and sustainable travel in the city.

Public transport discounts available to young people and students 

Learners aged over 16 may access the following concessionary (discounted) fares, discounts, subsidies, passes or travel cards made available by transport providers.

Bus travel

The following schemes are offered by all bus operators in the city.

Up to 4 children and young people aged 19 or under, can travel for free when accompanied by a fare-paying adult or an adult concessionary pass holder. This offer applies at all times, including peak times, excluding night-time routes and journeys.

All bus operators have introduced 50p single journey tickets for unaccompanied children or young people under 19. This offer applies to off-peak travel times only, excluding night-time routes and journeys.

Special deals are also available to young people who are doing an apprenticeship.

To get these lower fares, bus operators accept various forms of ID.

Photo ID on buses

On services run by Brighton & Hove Buses, the BusID allows you to:

  • load tickets straight onto the card by an online account
  • use it to accompany a child mobile ticket on the app
  • pay a reduced cash fare from the driver direct

BusID can also be used as an ID on any other bus operator, except Stagecoach.

Brighton & Hove Carers Card

Discounted travel is available to Brighton & Hove Carers Card holders.

To apply you must: 

  • support a child or adult who could not manage without this help
  • not receive payment for supporting this person
  • support someone who lives in Brighton & Hove

Apply for a carers' card.

More information about bus discounts for young people and bus discounts for students.

Disabled person's bus pass

The disabled person’s bus pass offers free travel on buses at any time of day. Students of any age with a physical or learning difficulty may be eligible.

There's no restriction for Brighton & Hove residents using the disabled person’s bus pass providing the journey starts or finishes in Brighton & Hove.  

Apply for a disabled person's bus pass

Rail travel

16 to 17 saver

16 and 17-year-olds with the 16 to 17 saver will be eligible for 50% off standard anytime, off-peak, advance and season tickets. The 16 to 17 saver is available to buy for £30 on the 16 to 17 saver website.

The 16 to 17 Saver is valid for one year or up until the holder’s 18th birthday, whichever comes first. However, season tickets bought with a 16 to 17 saver discount before it expires, can be used for up to 4 months after the expiry date.

Unizone student tickets

If you’re studying in or around Brighton or Worthing, the Unizone ticket gives you unlimited travel at a discount.  Read more about Southern Rail's Unizone student tickets.

Young person's railcard

Young people aged 16 to 25 can purchase a young person’s railcard that entitles them to one-third off travel throughout Britain after 10am on weekdays and off-peak.

Planning journeys

Students may also find the Traveline website helpful for planning any public transport journeys to and from school and college.

National Rail Enquiries gives details for journey planning for those travelling only by train.

Travel support from schools and colleges

Most further education colleges within Brighton & Hove have their own travel schemes. Parents and students are strongly advised to contact their preferred college to find out more.

Find colleges within the Brighton & Hove area.

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund

Schools and colleges have funds allocated to them to assist the most disadvantaged learners to access their courses.

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund provides financial support to help young people overcome barriers so they can remain in education. 

Find out more about the Bursary Fund and eligibility criteria.

Types of bursaries

There are 2 types of bursaries:

  1. A vulnerable bursary of up to £1,200 for young people defined in specific groups for example:

  • those in care
  • care leavers
  • those in receipt of Income Support, or Universal Credit in place of Income Support
  • those in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance and Disability of Personal Independence Payments
  1. Discretionary bursaries which schools and colleges award to meet individual needs, for example, to help with the cost of transport, meals, books and equipment.

Schools and colleges are responsible for managing both types of bursaries. Speak to your school or college about making an application.

Bursaries for apprentices

Apprentices and those who are currently, or in danger of becoming Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) are also able to get bursary support.  

Read more about subsidised transport for 16 to 19-year-olds in education.

Bursaries for adult learners

Adult learners over 19 can also apply to get a discretionary bursary if the learner is over 19 and either: 

All students should first discuss with their school or college student support service whether they may be eligible for transport costs from this fund.

Appeals for bursary funding

If you're a student on a low income and you have applied but been refused any bursary funding, you can appeal to the council and ask to be considered for exceptional circumstances financial support.

You're unlikely to be successful in your appeal unless you can demonstrate that you're on a low income and that your bursary request has been refused.

Hardship Fund

Universities have funds allocated to them to assist the most disadvantaged learners to access their courses. These funds are called Hardship Funds. They can be issued in addition to Bursary Funds.

Generally, student hardship funds are offered to students:

  • from low-income backgrounds
  • facing other types of adversity, like bereavement, illness or disabilities

Parents carers or adult learners should make enquiries to their university’s Student Services or Learning Support to find out how to access the Hardship Fund.  

Read more about university and college Hardship Funds.



Young parents (Care to Learn)

If you're a young parent under 20 years old, Care to Learn can help pay for your childcare and related travel costs, up to £160 per child per week, while you're learning.

Care to Learn can help with the cost of:

  • childcare, including deposit and registration fees
  • a childcare 'taster' session for up to 5 days
  • keeping your childcare place over the summer holidays
  • taking your child to the childcare provider

Care to Learn is only available for courses in England that have some public funding. This includes courses that take place in: 

  • schools
  • school sixth forms
  • sixth form colleges
  • other colleges and learning providers, including Foundation Learning
  • your community at Children's Centres

Young parents are also entitled to apply for an under-19 Bus Only Ticket or for those aged 19 and over can apply for the 19 to 25 card.

Travel support from the council

Council support for young people without special educational needs or disabilities  

Choosing where to study post-16 is an individual choice, but we advise that consideration is given to the home-to-college journey when making a decision.

The council is only able to provide the assistance that's set out in this policy. We're unable to influence existing public transport bus or train services to fit with individual timetables.

Council support for learners with special educational needs or a disability

The council recognises that some disabled students may not be able to travel to college or further education independently and may need assistance.

In the first instance, we'll explore whether immediate or extended family members are able and willing to support you with the journey.

Eligibility for Travel Assistance for students of sixth form age

Journey length, rurality and the nature of the route are factors for families to consider. These issues do not, in themselves, give an entitlement to transport assistance. 

All students should discuss with their setting’s student support service whether they may be eligible for transport costs from the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund before applying for travel support from the council.

Basic criteria for travel assistance

We welcome applications for travel assistance to young people who meet the following basic criteria, and can demonstrate that they:

  • live in Brighton & Hove
  • where they have SEND, usually they will have a current Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • will be attending the equivalent of a full-time educational course* which allows for appropriate progression
  • have a placement which is the nearest suitable college to their home address, unless agreed otherwise by the council, for example, a setting named in the student’s EHCP
  • are unable to travel to the placement independently

*A full-time educational course is a course that runs for more than 15 hours a week.

Assessment criteria

The Eligibility Panel will use the following assessment criteria to consider the application: 

  1. The age, capabilities, vulnerabilities and needs of the student using the information provided by the student, family, education & health professionals and documents where appropriate.
  2. The nature of the journey in terms of accessibility, safety, active travel and public transport options, complexity and how long it might reasonably take (statutory guidance sets 75-minute guidance for young people from secondary school upwards), whether the journey could reasonably be made on foot or public transport if the student were accompanied.
  3. Whether a travel Companion or buddy could enable the student to travel semi-independently and as actively and sustainably as possible but without additional duress.
  4. Whether immediate family or family network members are consistently available and willing to support the student with their journey and if they have a suitable vehicle available.
  5. The student's needs relating to travel for example, whether the student has complex needs, requires a second person on transport, if independent travel is a realistic goal, and whether this has been actively encouraged by the family.
  6. The financial circumstances of the family and the potential impact of a declined application.
  7. Other relevant factors, for example, the health of the parent or carer and the potential impact on them to provide transport or accompany the student.  

Evidence to support an application for Travel Assistance from the council for sixth form aged pupils

If you apply for travel assistance, you give the council permission to consult with colleagues in SEND and to use current documents such as the EHCP, to help the Panel understand the individual needs and circumstances of the young person.

We may, within reason, ask parent carers for written evidence to support any reasons given for not being available to assist the young person with their transport needs.

This might include but is not limited to, a letter from an employer or a medical professional.

Eligibility for Travel Assistance for adult learners aged 19+ on a new course or programme

Transport arrangements for adult learners is set out in 509F and 508G of the Education Act 1996.

If a young person applies for a course or different course after their 19th birthday the criteria set out for 16 to 19 students applies.

Assessment criteria

The panel will use the following assessment criteria to consider the application:

  1. The age, capabilities, vulnerabilities and needs of the student using the information provided by the student, family, education & health professionals and documents where appropriate.
  2. The nature of the journey in terms of accessibility, safety, active travel and public transport options, complexity and how long it might reasonably take (the guidance sets a 75 minute guidance for young people from secondary school upwards), whether the journey on foot or public transport could be reasonably made if the student is accompanied.
  3. Whether a travel companion or buddy could enable the student to travel semi-independently and as actively and sustainably as possible but without additional duress. 
  4. Whether immediate family or family network members are consistently available and willing to support the student with their journey and if they have a suitable vehicle available.
  5. The student's needs relating to travel for example, whether the student has complex needs, requires a second person on transport, if independent travel is a realistic goal, and whether this has been actively encouraged by the family.
  6. What funding is available for transport from the learning provider (there is an expectation the learner has actively applied); what other funds the learner can access, whether the adult learner is receiving PIP with the mobility component as a means securing independent travel. The mobility component is for the extra help you need getting around. This can include moving, planning a journey or following a route.
  7. Advice from the college, for example, whether independent travel training is taking part as part of the programme.
  8. What arrangements have been considered or tried and why they are not suitable.
  9. Other circumstances relevant to each case. 

Evidence to support an application for Travel Assistance from the council for adult learners

The following evidence may be required in addition to an application for travel assistance: 

  1. Recent evidence from a relevant health and/or educational professional regarding the SEND of the adult learner and how this impacts the need for travel assistance, and their ability to walk or travel on public transport, accompanied or otherwise.
  2. A copy of the adult learner’s care and support plan (if applicable).
  3. Where the parent/carer is stated as being the primary carer/advocate for the adult learner, further evidence may be required regarding the support with transport (if any) they're able to provide and when.

In the case of adult learners, if the council agrees transport is necessary it will be provided free of charge.

Low income - sixth form aged pupils

For sixth-form age students, without ECHPs, with low income applying for travel assistance, they or their families must be receiving one of the following benefits or tax credits:

  • Free school meals  
  • Income Support 
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance 
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190) 
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit 
  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to 3 of your most recent assessment periods)

Eligible students will be reimbursed by calculating the cheapest available fare for the journey and paying those expected costs which exceed the first £10.80 per week.

As a Saver ticket bought with a Bus ID Card allows travel across the city for less than £10.80 per week, this means that, in normal circumstances, help is not offered to students attending colleges within Brighton & Hove.

The definition of a family on a low income may be changed following the government's review of the benefits system or future guidance.

Determining whether you're receiving the maximum Working Tax Credit

When tax credits are first awarded, or following a change in household circumstances, HM Revenue and Customs issue a ‘tax credits award 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 Working Tax Credit elements. This is the maximum amount a customer can receive in Working Tax Credit in any year.

It then lists ‘any reduction due to your income’ and shows the net amount payable. It's therefore readily apparent from the award notice whether a person is receiving maximum Working Tax Credit or a reduced sum due to income. Where there's a reduction due to your income in this section then you would not qualify for travel assistance. 

The figure for any reduction due to your income must be £0.00 to be in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.

If you present a review notification (TC603R), this should show a maximum income of £6,420 to evidence you're in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.

The council’s Welfare Rights Team can help with questions and problems on a range of social security benefits and tax credit issues.

If you need advice on your right to claim benefits:

Type of help given

Young people assessed as needing some help with their transport will be risk-assessed for their immediate needs. The most cost-effective suitable mode of travel support will be arranged.

For students who can access public transport, a journey time of up to 75 minutes each way is considered reasonable according to national guidance for best practice.

Types of travel support

Where a young person with SEND is assessed as eligible for some help with their transport, the type of travel assistance provided will be the most cost-effective available to the council at the time, appropriate to the student’s needs.

This may be one of the following:  

  • Personal Travel Budget (PTB)
  • a travel pass such as a bus or train travel card
  • a mileage payment, currently at 52p per mile, 4 journeys a day
  • a place on a contracted vehicle

Taxis will usually only be provided to sixth-form and adult learners if necessity is proven such as for students with severe disabilities and/or health needs which require travel with specialist staff, such as a nurse or support staff, or with medical equipment.

Following a successful application and individual assessment, we'll write to you telling you which option(s) we're able to offer and what you should do if you wish to take up the travel assistance that has been allocated.

Vehicle Passenger Assistants (VPAs)

The role of a VPA will be to provide general supervision and ensure a safe and comfortable journey.

VPAs are not normally supplied on transport provided for post-16 students except in cases where the council views it as necessary to meet a student’s individual needs or the combined needs of a group of students.

VPAs will only be provided to meet more complex individual needs, such as medical or health requirements, where there is supporting evidence confirming that such support is necessary to ensure a student’s safe journey to and from their learning or training establishment.

We'll use Pupil Travel Information Forms as well as other supporting information to ensure we have a full understanding of the needs and vulnerabilities. Where the council assesses one is required, a VPA will be provided.

Service limitations – when travel assistance isn’t provided

The council does not provide travel assistance to:

  • work experience placements
  • medical appointments
  • other off-site visits

Responsibility for this remains with the parents or carers, or school or college as appropriate.

Transport assistance is only ever provided to one address. If there is a 50/50 split of residence under a court order, the household receiving any child benefit, or student’s own benefit, would be considered the main address.

Students doing apprenticeships should apply to their employer or learning provider to have reasonable travel expenses met.

Students wishing to undertake a new course at the same or similar level to a level of qualification already achieved may not necessarily be successful in their application for travel support.

The council do not normally offer assistance to students taking part-time courses. However, students who feel they may have an exceptional case may put this in writing and return an application form for special consideration.

Assistance is not given for attendance at private schools or colleges unless named in the EHCP.

Any transport arrangements required by students outside of the college provision should be discussed with the provider.

Students looked after by the local authority must use the same eligibility criteria as other children and students. However, arrangements should be made and funded by the carer, as funding for this is provided in the allowances paid by the council’s fostering teams (agencies and in-house) to carers.

If a student chooses to change career direction or course this may affect their eligibility for travel assistance.

Review of eligibility

Travel assistance is agreed on an annual basis.

Change of circumstances

In every case, travel assistance will be reviewed following a change in circumstances including:

  • house moves
  • changes in placement or course
  • a change in the student’s needs (condition, medication or equipment)
  • any other change in circumstances which may be relevant

Following an incident on school or college transport, it may be necessary to stop provision until a further risk assessment has been carried out to make sure that the student can be transported safely. If this occurs, parents or carers will be responsible for transport and costs until the situation has been resolved.

Eligibility for transport support is determined by the Home to School Transport Eligibility Panel. Learn how Home to School Transport process applications.

Withdrawal of travel assistance

Travel assistance will not be withdrawn during an academic year, except if:

  • a student has successfully completed a programme of independent travel training
  • a student’s circumstances have changed significantly

Applying for transport support

Once a place at college or other education provision has been secured you should apply for travel assistance.

Start of year applications

We have set a deadline of 31 May. This is so we can get the transport ready for September. We're not always able to guarantee that travel assistance will be in place for the start of the academic year if applications are received after this date.

Mid-year applications

If you're transferring to a college during the academic year you can also apply. We aim to assess and provide a decision on mid-year applications within:

  • 7 working days during term time
  • 14 working days outside of term time

We aim to have arrangements in place within 5 working days of the decision.

Apply for travel assistance

Apply for help with home-to-school transport.

If you need help understanding this policy or further support to apply for travel assistance, contact the transport team:

For more information and support contact Amaze:

Amaze's advice line is open Monday to Friday 9:30am to 5pm. You can leave a message at any time, and someone will get back to you. 

Right of review or appeal

Stage 1 appeal

If we've refused your request for assistance with travel you can ask us to review the decision. Any request for a review should be made in writing or by email to the Post 16 Transport Team within 20 working days of the council’s decision.

Within 20 working days of receipt of the applicant’s request, a senior officer within the council will review the decision under a Stage 1 Appeal.

Stage 2 appeal

If you're unhappy with the outcome of the review, you have 20 working days to appeal further to an independent panel of officers, under a Stage 2 Appeal.

The panel will include 3 council officers who had no involvement in the Stage 1 decision to decline help with transport.

The appeal panel will review the appeal within 40 days of receipt of the request. The panel does have the power to reach a different decision in individual cases.

Make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman

You have the right to make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) if you think there was a failure to comply with the procedural rules or if you consider there to have been any other irregularities in the way the appeal has been handled.

The internal review and appeal process must be completed before making a referral to the LGO.

Learn more about our appeals process.


If you're unhappy with any aspect of the transport service, contact Home to School Transport:

How to make a complaint.

If a complaint about a transport provider is upheld, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken by the transport provider. In extreme cases the contract with a transport company may be terminated.


Every year we'll consult with young people of sixth form age and their parents as well as other stakeholders on the Post 16 Transport Policy statement before it's finalised.  

The policy could be changed in the future. The current support available does not amount to a legitimate expectation that it will continue to be offered.