Somerset County Council

Qualifying for school transport


We provide free school transport to pupils between 4 and 16 who attend the nearest, or transport area school for their home address, and who live over the statutory walking distance from that school. That is, two miles for children under eight and three miles for children aged eight and over.

If you live within the statutory walking distance of the school it is your parental responsibility to make sure your child attends school.

The ‘transport area’ is the school catchment area as at September 2012.

School transport entitlement to a particular school can change, depending on the year group the pupil is in and where the nearest school for that year group is in relation to their home address. 

If a pupil is assessed as not being entitled to free school transport, it is the parents' responsibility to re-apply for transport in a subsequent year group if they think entitlement may have changed. Parents will not be told about a change in entitlement. 

The raising of the participation age 
The Government requires young people to participate in education and training once they have finished their compulsory secondary education. This is a 'quick guide'

The law does not increase the statutory school leaving age. Our policy says that only pupils of statutory school age are eligible for free school transport.

For more information about transport to school or college for a year 12 or 13 pupil, visit our county ticket page.

Low income families 
For pupils from low income families, free school transport is available under certain circumstances.

  • Pupils aged between 8 and 11 will receive transport to their nearest school if it is between 2 and 3 miles.
  • Pupils aged between 11 and 16 who live between 2 and 6 miles from their school and attend one of their three nearest schools will receive free school transport.

Low income is defined as any child who qualifies for free school meals or families receiving the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.

Entitlement to free school meals is defined as

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) that does not exceed £16,190.
  • Working Tax Credit 'run-on' paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.
  • Universal Credit

We regularly review benefit information to make sure your child still qualifies for reduced rate or free transport.

Transport in exceptional circumstances
Please apply using the application form on this page stating your exceptional circumstances. If you are applying under short-term medical grounds, evidence will be required to support your application. Please email for more information.

Pupil referral units
Transport is also provided to pupils attending a pupil referral unit, providing they live over the statutory walking distance from the unit, and in some exceptional cases where there is evidence that they cannot walk to school, even if they are appropriately supervised.

Transport on religious grounds
If you are applying for school transport under religious grounds we also require a priest, minister or equivalent, to confirm that you regularly attend church in the same religion or faith as the school you have chosen. Please see the information and resources section of this page for an application form.

We will then contact you to tell you the cost of transport and the transport options available.


Contact: Admissions and Entitlements Team
Address: County Hall, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4DY
Phone: 0300 123 2224
Fax: 01823 356113

Opening Hours: Monday 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.


» Indicates required fields

Feedback form
Was this information helpful? »