The Education Authority provides free school transport in the following situations:
- Where a child is enrolled in his/her zoned primary school, and lives two miles or more from that school.
- Where a child is enrolled at his/her zoned secondary school, and lives three or more miles from that school.
The only exceptions to this policy are:
- Where a child lives less than the prescribed distance from his/her zoned school (that is, less than the two or three miles indicated above) but cannot reach that school either by an available transport service or by an available safe walking route accompanied if necessary by an adult.
- Where a child lives less than the prescribed distance from his/her zoned primary or secondary school (that is, less than the two or three miles indicated above), does not have access to a transport service, and is unable to walk the prescribed safe route due to his/her own medical condition or to the medical condition of the adult who would normally accompany him/her on the walking route to school.
It should be noted, in relation to the above, that the Education Authority, in determining whether or not a safe walking route exists, will take expert advice from the Police or other qualified road safety practitioners. In the case of medical conditions it will seek the opinion of the Family General Practitioner or School Medical staff, as appropriate before any final decision to support a request is made.
- Where a child lives less than the prescribed (two or three miles) from his/her zoned school on the Contract (i.e. School) Bus route to that school, and there exist(s) space(s) on the existing Contract (i.e. School) Bus Service. In such cases, a child may be granted free transport on a privilege basis, only for as long as there is a space, and it is not required by an entitled child.
If my child is accepted for an out-of-zone school, will he/she be entitled to free transport to and from school?
It is at the discretion of the Education Authority whether or not to grant free transport in such cases. Only in exceptional circumstances (such as medical reasons) will the Authority exercise this discretion.
The Education (Scotland) Act 1996 places a duty on Education Authorities to give consideration to any safety implications involved when granting out-of-zone placing requests, but nevertheless leaves the decision at the discretion of the Education Authority.
Where the Local Authority has placed a child in a school which is not his/her zoned school, transport will be provided to the school if it is more than two miles from the address of which the child is ordinarily resident (primary) or more than three miles (secondary).
Does the education service issue season tickets for school transport?
Free transport may be provided in various ways, either by the provision of season tickets on buses or trains or by direct provision of contract transport, by the Public Transport Unit, on behalf of the Education Authority. In certain isolated and exceptional circumstances financial payments may be made directly to parents to transport their own children, but again, this is restricted to areas where other more normal methods of transport provision are impossible.
The Education Authority does not guarantee to provide "door to door" transport. In certain instances, children may be required to walk up to two or three miles as appropriate.
In particular cases of difficulty, for example, where children have medical problems or where problems of safety arise, parents/guardians should approach the school to complete an ''exceptional circumstances' transport application. The Service will assess the application.
Where season tickets are lost, there is a £10 administrative charge for replacement.
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