School and college transport assistance

Guidance notes for post 16 college and 6th form transport assistance


This guidance is intended to help students in applying for Post 16 Travel Assistance for the academic year 2023/24 by explaining how the scheme works and how to apply for assistance.

The Southend-on-Sea City Council Transport Policy defines the criteria and has been approved by elected members of the City Council. These guidelines are reviewed yearly.

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 students 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 students Disability Living Allowance (or Personal Independence Payment) award letter if they have one.

Please email 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 Appeal Panel - please call the Transport Entitlement Officer to discuss any of this if you are unsure.

Conditions of Entitlement

Students who are not from a qualifying low income household* will not be eligible to receive travel assistance to a Sixth Form or College within the areas of Southend, Castle Point or Rochford. If the nearest establishment offering the course of their choice is outside these areas, travel assistance will be provided subject to payment of a contribution towards the cost of the support provided equivalent to the cost of an annual adult Octopus Bus Pass (£610 at October 2019), AND subject to the fulfilment of all five of the following criteria:

  1. The student must live within the boundary of Southend-on-Sea City Council
  2. The student must reside three miles or more from the college or school by the shortest available walking route. The route is measured from the students front gate to the nearest school or college gate. The route used can include footpaths and is calculated by Southend Council staff using specialist mapping software
  3. The student must be under 19 years of age on 1st September 2023, or must have been under 19 on 1st September 2022 if they are commencing the second year of a course
  4. The further education course must be registered as full time. A full time course is considered to involve 450 hours of guided learning spread evenly over the 36 weeks of the academic year. No applications can be considered from residential students for travel to and from school/college
  5. The student must attend the nearest publicly funded school or college offering the course to be studied. The word course for the purpose of travel assistance refers to the qualification achieved (e.g. BTEC GNVQ Advanced Business) and not the description of the course in the school or college prospectus. If the student is going to study a multi-subject course such as A levels, AS levels or G.C.S.E.s, they would be expected to attend the nearest school or college offering 50% or more of those subjects, for example 2 out of 3 subjects, or 2 out of 4 subjects

Failure to fulfil any one of the conditions means that the student will not qualify for assistance. The financial contribution is waived for those students who are from an eligible low income family*.

If the student is attending an educational establishment within the Southend, Castle Point and Rochford areas, travel assistance will only be available to students who live in a qualifying low income household* and fulfil all five of the qualifying criteria listed above.

If the student studies at the Sixth Form of the school that they attended during years 10 and 11 and they were eligible for travel assistance during that time, they will be eligible to travel assistance if they continue to live in a qualifying low income household*

If a student is attending their nearest suitable educational establishment and are receiving high rate Disability Living Allowance for mobility or enhanced rate Personal Independence Payment for mobility and evidence of this is provided, condition 2 above is disregarded

Exceptions to Condition 5

  1. If at the time of application the chosen course at the closest establishment is full, and this is confirmed by a letter from that establishment, consideration will be given to providing assistance to the next closest school or college.
  2. Consideration will also be given to awarding travel assistance for students who are commencing the second year of a two year course if they were eligible for travel assistance for the first year of the course.

*A low income family for transport purposes is one who would fulfil the eligibility criteria for Free School Meals or is in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

If a fee is payable by the student to attend the course to be studied, or if the student is employed as part of their training (e.g. apprenticeships), transport assistance will not be available.

It is the student’s responsibility to determine the closest appropriate establishment. Prospectuses are normally available directly from school Sixth Forms or colleges or on their websites.

Young parents aged under 20 years old, undertaking publicly-funded further education, can apply for travel costs to and from their childcare facilities, as well as support with child care costs, through the Care to Learn scheme or call 0800 121 8989.

Application Procedure

  • if you think you are eligible please complete the online application form. You can request a paper application form by calling 01702 215007
  • applications can take up to 10 working days to process. However, during July to September applications can take longer
  • there is no facility at the Council offices to wait whilst your application is being processed as all applications are assessed as received
  • if an application is approved, you will be notified of this and the type of assistance offered. You may be asked for bank account details, if the award is a direct payment
  • if a bus or rail pass is awarded and the transport company requires a passport-style photo to accompany the pass - parents/carers/students are responsible for the costs of providing this

Once an application has been assessed, the applicant will be notified of the decision by email. 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.

If transport is approved, please be aware of the following:

  • transport will be provided to the main school/college site unless otherwise stated on the application form. If courses are undertaken at more than one site it is the responsibility of the school/college to provide inter-site travel. It is also the responsibility of the school/college to assist students with any work placement travelling costs if these are incurred
  • full details on the use of travel passes will be issued to the student if a pass is awarded
  • where an annual pass cannot be issued a pass may be issued each term
  • any pass awarded is posted to the address listed in the application form. If you wish to collect a pass in person please contact the Customer Service Centre on 01702 215007 to make the necessary arrangements
  • if a student withdraws or is unable to continue the course for any reason, the pass must be returned to the Customer Service Centre immediately. Failure to do so could result in action being taken by the Council
  • Southend-on-Sea City Council is committed to providing the most economical form of transport available to students and has the final decision on the mode of transport awarded. One return journey per day will be provided for the normal school/college day i.e. 8.30 to 16.30 on Monday to Friday. If the student has free time during this period they are expected to utilise it for private study at school/college

Travel assistance is agreed for one year only as the Post 16 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 Centre.

Tickets purchased should be attached to the form in date order and sent to the Education Transport 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.

Exceptional Circumstances:

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.

Contact School and College Transport

Telephone: 01702 534883

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