Transport and travel assistance

SEND Travel Assistance

Statutory school age children (aged 5 to 16)

Statutory school age children are eligible to receive free travel assistance if they meet certain criteria, which include the age of the child, the distance to school, the nature of the route and income status. Full details are set out in the Council’s policy here.

Children may also be eligible for free transport if they cannot walk to school because of their special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or mobility problem.  A child with SEND is eligible for free travel to school if:

  • they attend their nearest suitable school, and
  • it is within the statutory walking distance of their home, and
  • they could not reasonably be expected to walk there because of their special educational needs, disability or mobility problem, even if they were accompanied by their parent

To be eligible on these grounds, a child does not need to:

  • have an Education Health and Care plan (EHC plan); or
  • have travel to school specified in their EHC plan if they have one; or
  • attend a special school; or
  • live beyond the statutory walking distance.

Not every child with an EHC plan or who attends a special school will be eligible for free travel to school.

The Department for Education has published a blog aimed at parents about free school travel, which you can read here by clicking this link to the Government’s website: Free school transport explained: From who’s eligible to how it works - The Education Hub (

Post-16 Students

There is no statutory requirement to provide travel assistance for post-16 students, however, it is recognised that some students with SEND may need support with travel to reasonably access their education or training. In such cases, travel assistance may be agreed. A contribution towards travel assistance may be required.

Please read the Local Authority’s ‘SEND Travel Assistance Policy’ on this page for more information.

Check your eligibility

Eligibility will be informed by the child or young person’s individually assessed needs and includes consideration of the following:

  • The age of the child
  • The nature and severity of the child’s SEND (and disability and/or mobility) and how it affects their ability to travel
  • Whether a walking route is appropriate
  • Whether the child may present a risk to themselves or others

To check a child or young person’s eligibility for travel assistance, please complete our online application form. 

SEND Travel Assistance Application form

Please note: This application form is for Stoke-on-Trent residents only.