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Home to School Transport

Information provided by Kent County Council:

Your child may get free travel if they attend their nearest appropriate school.

Appropriate in this instance means:

  • age appropriate - attendance at a primary and secondary school

  • ability appropriate - attendance at a mainstream or special school.

They also need to be:

  • over 8 years old and live more than 3 miles from the school using the shortest available walking route.

  • under 8 years old and live more than 2 miles from the school using the shortest available walking route.

A walking route can include public footpaths, bridleways, other footpaths as well as recognised roads where they are available.

Your nearest suitable school may not always be the school of your choice, and won't take into account your preferences for types of school, for example a single-sex school, sports college or grammar school. In some parts of the county it may be a school in another educational authority, outside of Kent.

If the local council decides a route is hazardous, free transport assistance will be granted, even if it is under the statutory distance, provided the child is attending their nearest appropriate school. Once your nearest school has been established, we will not consider the route your child may take to any other school, as they will not be eligible to receive free school transport to that school.

If your child has special educational needs (SEN)

If your child meets the criteria above you may also be able to apply for a personal transport budget.

If your child doesn't meet the criteria above you may still be able to get help if their needs make their journey to school difficult. We will take into account whether your child can safely travel to school with a parent or carer, either on foot or in a vehicle.

As a starting point, normally you won’t be entitled to free school transport if the school your child goes to is not the closest one that meets their needs. There are, however, some exceptions to this principle and you should read the SEN transport guidance (PDF, 517.0 KB) to see if these are applicable to you.

For advice about your child's journey to school speak to your SEN officer.

If you have low income

Find out about the criteria for applying for free school transport if you have low income.

Read our home to school transport guidance (PDF, 517.0 KB)

Appealing a School Transport Decision


If your child is not eligible for free home to school transport, there are other school transport options available.

If you are unhappy with the decision to turn down your application you can email to outline the reasons why. Due to the high volume of applications we receive, it will not be possible to discuss your refusal over the phone. If you are still unhappy then you have the right to make an appeal.

To make an appeal:

  • email

  • write to Transport Appeals Team, Democratic Services, Room 1.99, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ.

Your email/letter must include:

  • your reasons for appealing

  • your name and address

  • your phone number

  • your email address (if you have one)

  • your child's name, school and date of birth

  • any evidence that supports your appeal (for example, letters from your school, GP or social worker).

We'll write to you to let you know we've received your appeal and to offer you a date for the appeal to be heard by the panel.

You can attend the hearing to put your case to the panel. You don't have to come to the hearing and you may prefer to ask your county councillor to come with you or speak on your behalf.

The decision will be sent to you in writing within 5 working days of the appeal hearing.

If your appeal is unsuccessful you cannot make another appeal for the same child and the same school unless you can prove that your circumstances have changed significantly.