Free home to school travel assistance

Information about who can apply and what is available.

Eligibility (children up to age 16)

You can find the full list of criteria in the Home to School Travel and Transport Policy.

See also the specific questions and answers for parents of school-age children (pdf format, 140Kb).

If your address falls within a village assessed by us as a split-village (pdf format, 89Kb), we will provide free travel to both the nearest school and the catchment school.

For some addresses, the nearest school is outside of Oxfordshire. In this case, we will also provide free school transport to the nearest available Oxfordshire school.

Where we provide free transport

We will provide free transport from Oxfordshire homes to the nearest available school where:

  • the shortest designated route is more than the statutory walking distance of three miles for children aged 8 and over,
  • the shortest designated route is more than two miles where the child is aged under 8
  • the route has been assessed as unsafe to walk, even if accompanied by a responsible adult.

Contact us to find your nearest school on our maps

Contact us to check the nearest schools to your home address using the shortest designated route. 

Nearest school maps

The maps below show the nearest school to an address in a school’s catchment area based on the shortest designated route. This route is the shortest distance from an address to the nearest open school gate measured by our mapping software.

Walking distances and shortest designated route

The shortest designated route is the distance from an address to the nearest open school gate, as measured by our mapping software. You can find further details about how we measure the route in our measuring distances document (pdf format, 130Kb). This route may include footpaths, bridleways, and other pathways, as well as recognised roads.

Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children attend school regularly. This extends to the journey to and from school. A child should be accompanied by a parent where necessary unless there is a good reason why it is not reasonable to expect the parent to do so.

Families on low income

We provide free transport where pupils are entitled to free school meals, or their parent receives the maximum level of working tax credit and if the child is:

  • aged 8-11 and the nearest suitable school is more than two miles
  • aged 11-16 and the school is between 2-6 miles (and there are not three or more suitable nearer schools)
  • aged 11-16 and the school is between 2-15 miles and is the nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief.

Tax credits

Your income may reduce the amount of tax credits you receive. You will be able to see if you are in receipt of the maximum level of working tax credit by looking at the working tax credit element on your tax credit award statement. There should be a zero reduction due to your income, to receive the maximum level of award.

How to apply for free home to school travel

You shouldn’t need to apply for free home to school travel assistance. When you apply for a school place we will check if you are eligible. The letter you receive regarding your school application will say if your child is entitled to free school transport. You don't need to fill in any additional forms.

If you've applied directly to the school rather than through us and you think that you may be eligible for free transport, or, your circumstances have changed and now believe your child is eligible for free travel you will need to complete a transport request form. 

Disputing a decision

If we tell you that your child is not entitled to free travel, but you would like to dispute this, you can request a review.

The full details are set out in the Home to school travel and transport policy 2020-21 (pdf format, 1Mb)

Transport for young people aged 16-19

We do not provide travel assistance to students aged 16-19 choosing to attend a sixth form school or college.

Full details are set out in the Transport Policy Statement (pdf format, 193Kb).

You will need to contact the college directly.

A large number of commercial bus services serve school sixth forms/colleges and further education colleges.

To buy tickets to travel on these services, contact operators directly. Operators provide a variety of different passes ranging from weekly to annual. 

Raising the participation age (RPA)

In summer 2013, the government increased the age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training – until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17.

In summer 2015, the government increased it until their 18th birthday. Raising the Participation Age (RPA) does not mean that young people must stay in school, and they will be able to participate through three options.

  • Full-time education – whether at a school, college or otherwise.
  • Work-based learning, such as an apprenticeship.
  • Part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours a week.