Why have I have been refused school transport?
Officers are required to follow the law and Council policy and consider all applications in line with these.
In a bid to be helpful, we have prepared this guide to assist applicants who may want further information to explain why their application has been refused. Use the links below to navigate to the relevant section.
Not attending the nearest school
If your child is not attending their nearest school*, no transport is provided, unless you originally applied for all nearer schools and were not offered a place at one of them.
School 'catchment' areas, the perception of a school, or issues such as GCSE results or Ofsted reports are not legal reasons to provide school transport.
Even if your child attends their nearest school, to qualify on grounds of distance, they must live a certain distance away from the school by the shortest walking route (not direct route) to be entitled to transport assistance. This is:
These distances are set by law.
If your child qualifies to receive free school meals because of low income, then the distance remains at 2 miles.
The Council uses a Geographical Information System (GIS) to calculate distances. Other measuring systems such as Google Maps or Bing are not relevant.
Private arrangements (spare seats)
Parents of children not entitled to free transport can contact local operators to ask about making private arrangements e.g. purchase a bus pass or a spare seat on a school vehicle.
This is something that needs to be agreed between the parent(s) and the operator. The Council does not get involved in private arrangements.
Parents may also explore public transport options.
What if I can't get my child to school?
Transport is not provided on the basis that a parent feels that their child cannot get to school on their own.
Working and childcare arrangements, the availability or not of a car and the cost of arranging to get a child to school are not legal reasons for transport to be provided where the policy criteria are not met.
School 'catchment' areas are not relevant to school transport law. There is no requirement to provide transport based on 'catchment' areas.
Sibling links are not part of school transport law.
Each application is required to be considered against the policy. If one child received free transport, there is no guarantee a sibling will qualify simply because a previous sibling was entitled. It could be that one child could not get in to a nearer school and this led to transport being awarded, which may not be the case for another child.
Transport is not provided on the basis that a family has children at different schools. If there is no entitlement to transport, then by law the responsibility of getting children to and from school(s) is that of the parent/carer.
SEN and/or additional support
Transport is not provided to children on the basis that a parent feels that a school can meet their child's additional needs over and above a nearer school.
Other local children getting transport
There are occasions where some children in an area have an entitlement and others do not.
It may be that a local child has been unable to get in to a more local school, or that they have a secondary aged entitlement under the low income policy.
Difficulties at a previous school
There may be occasions where parents have concerns over how the school is handling any issues they raise, which may include difficulties with other children or with the school itself.
This does not mean that transport has to or will be provided to a school further away.
The Council does not provide transport following a school-led managed move unless the policy criteria are met.
Where an entitlement does not exist, we would advise you to contact the schools that arranged the move to see if they are able to offer some support.
Change of address
Following a change of address, any application would be considered from the new address under the usual policy criteria.
Transport would not be provided if the school is not the nearest school to the new home address.
Where transport is provided, it will be at the start and end of the normal school day. School clubs, trips and part-time attendance does not require transport to be provided.
You can view the full Education Transport Policy at www.essex.gov.uk/schooltransport
*Unless you meet the statutory low income criteria outlined within the policy.