Oxfordshire County Council logo

Paid home to school travel assistance

Spare seats scheme

For pupils who do not qualify for free school transport, we offer a paid transport place called spare seats scheme transport.

Travel can only be offered where there are spare seats on school buses operating for students who qualify for statutory transport. A seat can only be guaranteed for the term the seat has been sold for. Therefore, you should have an alternative plan in case Spare Seat transport can no longer be offered. Spare capacity on our contracted vehicles varies from year to year on each of our contracts. You may be asked to reapply in each new school year and your application may not be successful even where, in previous years, spare seats have routinely been available.

By applying for a spare seat, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme (pdf format, 145Kb)  Applicants and students also agree to adhere to School Transport Code of Conduct (pdf format, 184Kb)

Invoices are issued three times per year; in August (Autumn term), December (Spring term) and March (Summer term)

Apply for the spare seat scheme

Apply for the spare seat scheme

2023/24 academic year

There is no guarantee that the council will be able to sell you a seat for September, so you should also plan in case your application is unsuccessful.

You can apply for spare seats scheme transport commencing September 2023 from 17 April 2023.  We cannot accept applications before this date:

Costs for the 2023/24 academic year will be:

  • Home to school journey is under 3 miles - £433.40 a year (£144.47 per term)
  • Home to school journey is 3 miles or over - £806.30 a year (£268.77 per term)

By applying for a spare seat, applicants and students agree to adhere to School Transport Code of Conduct (pdf format, 184Kb)

How will my application be processed?

The deadline for applications is 30 June 2023. Applications for September 2023 cannot be processed before this date as we need to allocate students who are eligible for free school transport first.  For applications received by 30 June 2023, we will aim to let applicants know by 31 July 2023 if we are able to offer a seat for sale or not.  Applications received by 30 June 2023 will be considered in priority order of the terms of spare seats scheme (see below).

Applications received after 30 June 2023 we will aim to acknowledge within 10 working days of receipt of the application and processed as soon as possible thereafter. Applications received after 30 June 2023 will not be able to be considered within the initial priority order of offer.

Late applications may not be able to be processed in time to enable your child to travel to school on the first day of term. Until a pass has been issued and received, parent/carer must make alternative arrangements

How do we prioritise applications?

As Spare Seats are limited, when there are more spare seat applications received by the deadline, for a specific route than there are seats available, they will be allocated in the descending order of priority shown in the table below. Once the applications received by the deadline have been processed, students who are on the waiting list and new applications will be ordered as per the priority listings below.

Priority for spare seats
Priority Category
1 Those with an Education, Health and Care Plan naming the school
2 Looked After Children
3 Years 12 and 13 (if there is no available service bus route)
4 Children in receipt of Free School Meals or whose parent /parents are in receipt of the maximum Working Tax Credit
5 Those who travelled on the route the previous term
6 By year group, in ascending order of priority from Reception to Year 11 (or to Year 13 if there is an available service bus route)

Where there are more applicants than places in any of the above categories priority will be given to those living closest to the destination school (measured using the shortest designated route on Oxfordshire County Council’s Geographic Information System)

Pay an invoice

Pay an invoice

You will need to enter your student ID (this is shown on the invoice as student reference).

Contact us at: spareseatsscheme@oxfordshire.gov.uk