Apply for school transport

Apply for a personal transport budget

Before you apply

You have to apply for school transport first, there is a question on the form which asks ‘are you interested in a personal transport budget’ if you would like your case to be reviewed please tick yes and follow the instructions.

What is a personal transport budget?

A personal transport budget is a payment designed to help you make arrangements which will enable you to facilitate your child accessing school. You must be eligible for travel assistance and the council will award travel assistance making the most appropriate use of public funds. The budget is granted at our discretion and is not automatically given upon request.

You can use the budget in any way you wish to ensure your child attends school every day, on time and in a fit state to learn. For example, it can help towards covering the cost of a school club, childminder for other children within the family, allowing you, a family member or friend to take the entitled student to and from school.

The payment is a fixed amount, based on proximity and bears no relationship to the cost of a taxi or hired vehicle.

Please read the guidance notes below before completing your application.

Guidance notes

How much you can expect to receive

The amount of money that is awarded is based on the distance between your home and the school your child attends. Many available maps and internet-based measuring tools will give you an indication of the distance from your home to your child’s school, but this is only an indication. The distance is measured by a straight line (as the crow flies) and our own measuring software is used to determine this. For fairness and consistency, the same software is used for all applications.

There are four distance bands in which you would expect to receive a payment.


Home to school distance:

  • Band 1: less than 5 miles, £2,000
  • Band 2: between 5 to 9 miles, £3,000
  • Band 3: between 10 to 19 miles, £5,000
  • Band 4: over 20 miles, £8,000

Payments are made on the basis of your child attending school for the number of days in each academic year. If your child attends school less days than a full time student, we will make your payment on a pro-rata basis. This means you will receive less than the total amount outlined above.

Should your child be absent from school, even if this is through no fault of their own, your monthly payment will be reduced to account for the reduction in required travel. Free school transport is also not available for work experience or additional journeys that the school requires your child to take. You will be notified of any reduction in payment before that month’s payment is due to be paid.

Leaving school

The payment is not guaranteed to be provided until a child leaves their current school.

We will review your child’s payment at least once a year. The review will evaluate whether it remains cost-effective for the payment to be provided and new transport options may mean this is no longer the case. The review will also check your child’s attendance records to ensure they are being taken to school.

If your child’s attendance at school is not sufficient to continue your payment, or where there is more cost-effective transport in place, your payment may be withdrawn. If this happens, we'll give you 28 days’ notice.

If there are reasons why your child is no longer eligible for transport or if their EHCP ceases to be maintained the payment will be withdrawn

If your circumstances change

If your child moves home or changes school, you must ensure that you let us know as soon as possible, but no later than 4 weeks before the change is due to take place. Your child’s eligibility to receive payment would then be reassessed. Whilst you may have received the payment previously, it doesn't mean that you'll automatically continue to receive the budget from another address to the same school or from the same address to another school. Any transport arrangements that are required after the change but before your child has been reassessed will be the parent’s responsibility to arrange.

Where payments are made and we realise that we weren't told of a change in circumstance, we'll look to recover any payments made.

Can you receive a payment for my child to attend 2 schools?

No. Transport assistance is only provided to one school. If you apply for a payment, this will only be assessed to the main school that the child attends.

When you'll receive your payment

The payments are paid over an 11-month period with no payments paid in August due to school closure over the holiday period. Payments are paid directly into your bank account within 30 days of receiving a qualifying claim form. We can arrange to make payments in advance based on the agreed amounts but many of our parents prefer to claim in arrears as it allows them to budget effectively. Any changes such as less days attended will be deducted from the following months payment if paid in advance.

Payments are not backdated and no refunds are provided if your application is processed within 6 weeks of receipt of the application.

If your request is refused

As payments are only available to children who are eligible for free school transport, there is no appeal as eligibility is not in dispute, but you can have the decision reviewed. If you have been refused a PTB because the cost of the PTB is more than the cost to the Local Authority of transporting your child, you can in the first instance ask for a review of the decision by a different officer in School Transport, providing any additional information or evidence that supports your request.

If you're still not satisfied with the response you receive, you can seek a final review from our departmental head responsible for school transport, who will make the final decision on how we will assist with transport. If you have been refused any assistance with transport because your child does not meet the necessary criteria, normal transport appeal arrangements will apply.

In exceptional circumstances where a payment is cost-prohibitive, it may be possible to award a mileage payment instead. This will be at our discretion and will normally only be appropriate where we agree that the child must be transported by you.


Will the payments be taxed?

The budget is a payment made in relation to the child not the parent and so should not affect your tax situation. It is used to enable your child to get to and from school each day in a safe and legal way and should not be used for any other purpose. If you have concerns that it may impact your tax situation, you will need to seek your own advice from a tax expert in relation to your personal circumstances

If I have 2 or more children with EHCP’s, all of whom are eligible for transport assistance, can I claim a payment for each child?

You can claim for each child, but whilst the first child would receive 100% of the payment, the second child would only be entitled to 50% of the payment. Any additional children would not qualify for a payment.

My child travels in a taxi with other children. What would happen to that vehicle if one of the parents is granted a payment?

We would continue to provide you with the appropriate transport assistance but would review the arrangements to see if you or the other parents would prefer a payment. The vehicle would only be withdrawn if all the children occupying the vehicle were granted a payment and where the total cost of payments collectively was less than the cost of procuring the existing transport arrangements.

My child and I are happy with the current contractor and driver that transport my child to and from school. If I applied for the payment, could my child continue to travel in the same vehicle?

No. If you apply for the payment, you will be responsible for making your own arrangements for transporting your child to and from school. Even if you decide to refuse the payment and stay with your current contractor, there is no guarantee that any contractor/driver or passenger assistant would remain the same whilst your child attends school. If you decide to accept the payment and then return to transport provided by us, there's no guarantee that your child will be able to use their previous transport.

Whilst you could use your payment to make your own personal arrangements with the taxi contractor to take your child to and from school, your child would not be able to travel on the vehicle we arrange.

You can use the payment in any way you wish. For example, if:

  • someone in your family can drive your child to and from school
  • you can arrange with a friend or relative to walk your child to school
  • you can car share with other parents where their children are going to the same school as your child
  • you could provide a relative or friend with a bus pass in order to take your child to and from school
  • you could pay for childcare for a younger child in order for you to take your child to school

Do I need to collect any receipts for petrol etc?

No. Once the payments are made to you, you can use them any way you wish to in order for your child to get to and from school every day in a safe and legal way. On initial set up, if you are going to be using a school club, childminder or family/friends, you will need to provide an official costing signed by the provider confirming the charges. You will be required to complete an attendance form each month to confirm the number of days your child attended school.

What happens if my child is ill?

Your child’s attendance record will be reviewed and the payments for any days that they are absent will be deducted from the following month’s payment, if you are paid in advance.

If your child’s attendance drops below an acceptable level without reason, you will be at risk of having your personal transport budget withdrawn.

My child is at boarding school. Would this affect the size of my payment?

Your child will be assessed in the same way as all other children and your payment will initially be based on one of the three payment bands. However, the final payment will be offered on a pro-rata basis to account for the actual number of journeys you are required to make.

My child attends college, can I apply for a personal transport budget?

If your child’s eligible for transport assistance and their needs mean that they are unable to use public transport or transport provided by the council, they can be considered for a personal transport budget at our discretion.

I am a foster carer for a child that receives transport, can I apply for a personal transport budget?

If your foster child is in our care and meets the criteria to receive free home to school transport, then you can apply.

If you get an attendance allowance for the child, you won't be eligible to receive a payment.

If your foster child is in the care of another council, you'll need to contact that council.