Home to school or college travel support

Who is eligible

We only provide help with home to school travel for children who are eligible by law.

For your child to be eligible for help, they must:

  • live in Thurrock
  • be of compulsory school age – usually between 5 and 16 years-old
  • attend the nearest suitable school with a place available

When applying for your child's admission to school, you can make sure they attend the nearest suitable school with a place available by:

  • using 'Datamap' for home-to-school distance measurement, below, to find the nearest suitable primary or secondary school to your home
  • listing the nearest suitable primary or secondary school as the preferred school on your child's admission application

A child will not be eligible for free travel solely because of their parent's work commitments or caring responsibilities.

We will consider the following points when deciding your child's eligibility.

1. Distance

Your child's home to school journey must be more than the walking distance set by law, which is:

  • 2 miles for children under 8 year-old
  • 3 miles for children aged 8 years-old or older

We measure distance using a specialist computer programme called 'Datamap'. This gives accurate shortest walking distances from the gate of your home to the nearest entrance gate of your child's school. We do not consider distances measured in any other way.

You can use Datamap below to measure the shortest safe walking distance from your home to schools within Thurrock.

Datamap – home to school distance measurement

By law, we must use walking distance except in cases of extended rights – point 4, below.

2. Safety

Your child's home to school journey must have been assessed by us and may be deemed an unsafe route. This means that a child cannot reasonably be expected to walk to their school, even if accompanied by adult, because none of the available routes are safe.

Safe routes are those we have found to have adequate lighting, crossing points and pathways.

We regularly review unsafe routes – once a route has been made safe to walk, we will no longer provide transport.

3. Special educational needs, disability or mobility issues

Your child will be considered eligible if they cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their special educational needs or disability (SEND) or mobility problems, even if they were accompanied by their parent.

A child does not need to have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan to be eligible for travel assistance. We assess each case on an individual basis. We consider information provided by parents, schools and other professionals as to why the child may not be able to walk to school.

Where our assessment finds a child could walk to and from school if accompanied, we would expect a parent or carer of the child to accompany them or make other suitable arrangements. A child won't normally be eligible for travel assistance solely because their parents or carers are not able to accompany them due to work, caring or other commitments.

For more information, go to 'Local offer' services for special education needs and disabilities.

4. Extended rights for families that have low income

A low income family is one where a child receives free school meals because of the family's income, or their parents or carers receive any of the benefits listed below:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • the maximum level of Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit – and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190
  • Universal Credit with an annual earned income of £7,400 or less
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Children of statutory school age from low income families are eligible for travel assistance if they:

  • attend the nearest suitable primary school that is more than 2 miles from their home – for children over the age of 8 and under the age of 11
  • attend a secondary school that is one of the 3 nearest suitable schools, between 2 miles and 6 miles from their home – for children over the age of 11 and under the age of 16
  • attend a secondary school that is between 2 miles and 15 miles from their home, and their parents or carers have chosen that school based on their religion or belief, with regard to which there is no nearer suitable school

More information

The details above are just a brief summary – you can find full details in our policy.