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School travel assistance

Assistance with travel costs is dealt with by a pupil's home Local Authority; therefore the following details only apply to Bexley residents.

If you live outside Bexley borough you should direct any enquiry about assistance with travel to the Local Authority responsible for the area in which you live.

Please note, if you have a query regarding travel assistance for a pupil that has a statement of special educational needs, you will need to initially contact the Special Educational Needs team.

Applying for assistance

Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) provides free travel on buses and tram services within the London area (zones 1-6) for children under the age of 18 in full-time education. Charges for travelling in buses outside of the area are still made.

Bus routes within Bexley borough provide free travel for a child aged under 16 but charges will still occur where bus routes operate outside of the agreed zone.

Free travel by TfL is provided under the following guidelines:

  • Children aged between 11 and 15 need to obtain a 11-15 Oyster photocard to travel free on bus and tram services. Application forms for a 11-15 Oyster photocard are available from Post Offices and may be available from schools
  • Children under the age of 11 will not require any photocard to travel free on bus and tram services
  • Children under the age of 16 requiring a Travelcard will still require a 11-15 photocard

London Borough of Bexley's policy

The London Borough of Bexley expects learners who live in Bexley borough to make use of the concessions offered by TfL including free travel within the borough.

However, there may be circumstances, if you live within Bexley borough, where travel assistance is required outside the scope of free travel arrangements implemented by TfL. In this instance, the borough's policy will apply and takes into account any statutory requirement.

(Please note: If you live outside Bexley borough you should direct any enquiry about assistance with travel to the local authority responsible for the area where you live).

If your child is in Year 12 or 13 please see Post-16 Travel Assistance Policy.

1. Who is eligible?

The London Borough of Bexley will consider the provision of travel assistance to certain pupils who travel over a specified distance to the 'nearest appropriate' local authority maintained school within Bexley borough. Travel assistance may also be provided where a child has special educational needs or in other exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the local authority.

"Nearest appropriate school" is the school within the borough that is nearest to the child's home. If a parent has chosen a school which is not the nearest appropriate and is in excess of the walking distance stated then no assistance will be given. A school will not be deemed inappropriate because of a parental preference for either single-sex or co-educational schooling.

  • For pupils taking up selective places: this is a school within the borough, nearest to the pupil's home, which has selective places, taking pupils of the appropriate sex
  • For pupils taking up non-selective places: this is a school within the borough, nearest to the pupil's home, which has non-selective places, taking pupils of the appropriate sex
  • For pupils attending denominational (religious) schools: this is a denominational (religious) school within the borough, nearest to the pupil's home, taking pupils of the appropriate sex and religion. Where the distance and other criteria are met, supporting evidence is required to verify that the offer of the school was based solely on denominational grounds

These definitions apply equally to pupils at community, foundation and voluntary aided schools.

Assistance may also be given if parents have expressed a preference in writing for, and actively sought, a place at the "nearest appropriate school" but failed to gain admission. In this instance, a reasonable effort should be made by the parent to obtain a place at another appropriate school i.e. within the relevant distance based upon a child's age.

"Walking distance"

  • For children aged less than 8 years old, the distance between the home and school must be more than two miles
  • For children aged over eight years of age, the distance must be more than three miles

The above is measured by the shortest walking route using public highways and footpaths with lighting. The distance is calculated from the gate of where the child lives to the nearest gate at the school, as approved by the governors of the school as an official entrance, that the pupils can use. The distance is not calculated from the door of their home to the door of the school.

New statutory guidelines from September 2008

Secondary aged children from low income families will also receive assistance if they meet the following criteria:
The child:

  • Must attend one of their three nearest appropriate schools, and
  • Live between 2 to 6 miles from the school. However, for denominational schools, the distance is between 2 to 15 miles, and
  • Must be entitled to free school meals, or
  • The household must be receiving the maximum level of working tax credit

Attending out of borough schools

If a child attends an out-borough local authority maintained school, support may only be provided for child/children where no places are available at an appropriate school within the borough.

Pupils with special needs

Additional assistance may be given to pupils who have special educational needs e.g. those pupils who may ordinarily travel in wheelchairs or who have limited mobility. In these circumstances, please provide details, e.g. statement of needs, in the 'Special Educational Needs Section' of the School Travel Assistance application form in order for the Pupil and Student Finance team to consider your application.

2. Travel provision

Mode of travel: The most economical method of travel, usually in the form of a bus pass, will be the basis of any calculation of travel cost e.g. termly tickets for public transport are usually provided when assistance is given, but in exceptional circumstances a cash allowance may be made instead. However, the maximum cash allowance available cannot exceed the cost of a termly ticket.

Replacement tickets: If your child loses their bus pass that has been provided by the London Borough of Bexley, only one replacement ticket will be issued per term. If a child loses their replacement ticket, the borough accepts no responsibility for any additional costs associated with the required travel assistance.

Appeals (exceptional circumstances)

The London Borough of Bexley has formal procedures for considering the individual merits of applications that do not meet the normal policy criteria mentioned in these guidelines. Please provide full details of any exceptional circumstances you wish to be considered in the 'Additional Information Section' of the application form. However, this does not guarantee that the application will be approved.

3. How to apply

If you wish to apply, please contact the School Admissions Team. Fully completed application forms will be processed within 28 working days. However, if you fail to provide the necessary supporting documentation, this will delay the assessment of your form and the form may be returned to you.

The policy is reviewed annually.

Applicants are advised that it is a criminal offence knowingly to make an untrue statement or other false representation to obtain a grant, contribution or other financial benefit from the Council. This Council is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers and to this end may use the information you have provided within the authority for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies administering public funds solely for these purposes.

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