Our transport policies sets out the help we may be able to provide to pupils who don’t live within walking distance of their nearest suitable school.
This distance set out in the Education Act 1996 is measured by the shortest available walking route and is:

  • two miles for children under eight
  • three miles for children aged eight and over

After reading the relevant transport policy and you believe you might be entitled to school travel, you must opt-in each year. If you are unsure if you need to opt-in (apply) please contact customer services at customer.services@suffolk.gov.uk or on 0345 606 6173.

Read example school travel scenarios to help illustrate how eligibility for school travel is assessed.


Four reasons you can apply for school transport

You can apply for school travel for any one of the following four reasons:


1. Distance

Your child can only get Suffolk County Council funded school travel if they attend their nearest suitable school for the school year and meet the criteria below:

  • over 8 years old and live over 3 miles from the school using the shortest available walking route
  • under 8 years old and live over 2 miles from the school using the shortest available walking route

Walking is measured by the shortest route along which a child, accompanied as necessary, may walk with reasonable safety. As such, the route measured may include footpaths, bridleways, and other pathways, as well as recognised roads.


2. Income

Suffolk County Council has a legal duty to provide free school travel to families that meet the criteria for “Extended rights eligibility”.

For primary school aged pupils, aged 8 to 11, this means that free travel is provided when:

For secondary school pupils, aged 11 to 16, there is a wider choice of school which means that free travel is provided when

  • pupils are entitled to free school meals or their parents are in receipt of maximum Working Tax Credit and:
    • the school is between 2 and 6 miles from home and there are not three or more suitable nearer schools;
    • the school is between 2 and 15 miles and is the nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief.


3. Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND)

Travel to a school or college for students with SENDCloseSpecial Educational Needs and Disabilities or mobility difficulties is assessed against our School and Post 16 Travel policies and the following distance criteria applies:

  • 2 miles from the nearest suitable school if they're aged under 8
  • 3 miles from the nearest suitable school if they're aged 8 or older
  • 3 miles from the nearest post 16 educational provision and are aged 16 to 25

However, if they cannot walk because of their SENDCloseSpecial Educational Needs and Disabilities or mobility difficulties, they may be entitled to funded or subsidised travel irrespective of the minimum distance criteria.


4. Safety

If your child is attending their nearest suitable school but is under the statutory distances as detailed above, your child may be eligible for SCCCloseSuffolk County Council funded school travel if the route is assessed as not safe.

All walking routes to school may include some element of road safety risk.

Parents are responsible for accompanying their child (or children) as necessary and ensuring their child has suitable clothes and equipment for the journey.

For example:

  • boots
  • wet weather clothes
  • reflective bands
  • torch

The home to school journey will include:

  • public rights of way (footpaths and footways)
  • bridleways
  • crossing fields
  • wooded areas