Guidance notes for primary and secondary school transport Assistance
For students aged 4 to 16 2023/24 (Reception class to Year 11)
Parents are responsible for their child’s school attendance and travel. There are some circumstances where we can help with transport. We believe that all school journeys should be considered with sustainability and the health and wellbeing of children in mind. The following list of transport modes should be used in priority order.
- bus or train
- car share (with members of a different household)
For bus routes and timetables call Travel Line on 0871 200 2233 (calls cost 12p per minute 7am to 10pm daily) or visit Essex Travel line.
Transport to selective schools is arranged by the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex and you can contact their Transport Office on 01245 281194 or online.
Forward Motion can provide information on Bikeability training and cycle routes on 01702 215003 or visit Home - ForwardMotion (forwardmotionsouthessex.co.uk)
1. Parental preference will not be funded. If you choose to send your child to a school or college that is not their nearest school (or in the case of secondary pupils of low income families one of the nearest three schools) then free transport to that school will not be available, even if you later become an eligible low income family.
2. The child must be resident within the city. Where a child lives at two addresses during a school week the home address for transport purposes is taken as the one to which the child benefit for the child is paid.
3. Distances for each year group are set by relevant legislation (the Education Act 1996) and are walking distances. The Council uses specialist mapping software which gives accurate walking distances from the gate of the student’s home to the nearest entrance gate of the school. Some websites give approximate distances which can differ greatly from these.
4. It is your responsibility to ensure that you re-apply at the beginning of each academic year. The transport policy is kept under constant review and the most efficient and effective option available to the Council at the time of application will be used. Transport is assessed and awarded considering the local transport infrastructure as well as other factors. Any transport provided can be withdrawn should there be any change in circumstances on either side.
5. You may state your preferred form of travel assistance when applying and if approved as eligible where possible we will issue this transport. However, the Council have a legal duty to make the efficient use of resources, so this may not always be possible.
6. The Council’s Code of Conduct for Transport must be adhered to by all users.
7. There are additional guidance notes for Special Educational Needs/Disabled and Post 16 students.
Students with Special Needs
Students with additional needs or an active Education, Health and Care Plan are also expected to fulfil the eligibility criteria.
If public transport is required, please complete an online application after reading the guidance notes relevant to the student’s age.
If you feel public transport is not suitable for the student’s individual needs and you wish to apply for another form of travel assistance, then a Request for Travel Assistance Form should be completed. This form asks you to provide more individual detail about the student.
When submitting the completed form for assessment, please ensure it is accompanied by any relevant medical evidence and a copy of the student’s Disability Living Allowance (or Personal Independence Payment) award letter if they have one.
Please email EducationTransport@southend.gov.uk or call the Transport Entitlement Officer on 01702 215007 to request the relevant form.
Any request that does not fulfil the criteria can be considered as an appeal by the Multi Agency panel. Please call the Transport Entitlement Officer to discuss any of this if you are unsure.
Applications for all year groups
If you think you are eligible please complete the application form.
- a passport photo may be required at the time of issuance of a pass, and parents/carers are responsible for the cost of providing this. There is no photo booth facility at the Civic Centre. Digital images taken and printed by you are accepted as long as they conform to the rules found on GOV.UK
- those attending a Denominational (Faith) School must present a form signed by their celebrant
- applications for the start of 2023/24 academic year must be received by 21st July 2022 in order for it to be processed for the first day of the autumn term
- applications can take up to 10 working days. However, during July to September applications can take longer
- there is no facility to come in and wait whilst your application is being processed as all applications are assessed on a strictly first come, first served basis
- if a pass is approved it will be posted to the address provided in the application
Infant age children (Reception to Year 2) and Junior age children (Year 3 to Year 6) - travel assistance will only be provided if the pupil:
|A||Lives at least 2 miles from and attends the nearest infant, junior or primary school; or||Details of catchment schools can be found on our admissions pages but the criteria is for nearest school.|
|B||Lives between 2 and 15 miles from and attends the nearest denominational school to which the parents adhere, with vacancies in the appropriate year group, and the child lives in a qualifying low income household; or||You will need to gain your celebrants signature on the application form and provide proof of your household income.|
|C||Is unable to be offered a place at their nearest school and lives at least 2 miles from and attends the next nearest infant, junior or primary school with vacancies in the appropriate year group.||You will need to provide proof that you have applied for your nearest school to qualify under this criterion.|
Secondary age children (Year 7 to Year 11) - travel assistance will only be provided if a pupil:
|A||Lives at least 3 miles from and attends the nearest non-selective secondary school; or||Details of catchment schools can be found on our admissions pages but the criteria is for nearest school.|
|B||Is unable to be offered a place at their nearest non- selective school and lives at least 3 miles from and attends the next nearest non-selective school with vacancies in the appropriate year group; or||You will need to provide proof that you have applied for your nearest school and next nearest until you were able to gain a place to qualify under this criterion.|
|C||Is studying for GCSEs, moves home during year 10 or 11 and attends a school at least 3 miles from their new home address.||You will need to provide proof of your move date e.g. Council Tax demand. Please note students in years 7 to 9 are not eligible in these circumstances.|
|D||Has been awarded a place at a selective school provided that:
||You will need to provide proof of your household income.|
In addition secondary pupils whose families are on low income (as defined below) are entitled to receive travel assistance in the following circumstances:
|1||They attend one of the three closest schools between 2 and 6 miles from their home address - this does not apply to selective schools (see section D).||You will need to provide proof of your household income.|
|2||Lives between 2 and 15 miles from and attends the nearest denominational school to which the parents adhere, with vacancies in the appropriate year group.||You will need to gain your celebrants signature on the application form and provide proof of your household income.|
Criteria for pupils from low income households
- Child eligible for Free School Meals* or
- Parent in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit**
*To be eligible to receive free school meals, the parent/carer must be in receipt of either: Income Support; Income-based Jobseekers Allowance; Income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Universal Credit (your household income must be less than £7,400 a year after tax and not including any benefits you get); support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; the guarantee element of Pension Credit; Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190); or the Working Tax Credit ‘run on’ - the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit. The child’s free school meal eligibility should be registered with their school.
**Your Working Tax Credit award notice shows how your tax credits are calculated. Within this calculation the reduction due to income must show £00.00 to be in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.
Please register your child’s eligibility for Free School Meals before applying for transport. Alternatively, you can provide your National Insurance number when making your application.
Once an application has been assessed, the applicant will be notified by email of the decision. It is the applicant’s responsibility to check both their inbox and junk/spam mail folders to see whether a response has been sent. If no email address was provided when the application was made, the decision will be posted to the address provided in the application.
Travel assistance is agreed for one year only as the Primary/Secondary School Transport Policy is reviewed on an annual basis. Therefore, applicants need to make a fresh application for each academic year.
Reimbursement of fares paid
Students will normally be advised of their entitlement to travel assistance within 10 working days of the receipt of an online/paper application form.
If this deadline is not met, reimbursement of fares paid by an entitled student will be awarded for the number of academic days attended in excess of 10 working days that it has taken to process the application form and notify the applicant of their entitlement.
Students applying for reimbursement of fares should wait until they have received their notification and obtain a reimbursement form from the Customer Service Team.
Tickets purchased should be attached to the form in date order and sent to the Customer Service Team at the address stated on the form. No re-imbursement will be given without submission of tickets/proof of travel.
If an application is turned down, applicants have a right of appeal. Please see the Appeals Process page.
If you do not fulfil the eligibility criteria, but you feel you have exceptional circumstances that you would like to be considered, full details must be provided in writing.
Exceptional circumstance transport is normally only provided for short term medical reasons or emergency housing and is not normally extended beyond a limited period.
If you wish to make such a request, please make your initial enquiry by email. If you do not have internet access you can do this at the Civic Centre on the ground floor or by phoning 01702 215007.