You're responsible for getting your child to school or college. In Suffolk, 88% of families arrange school travel themselves.
Think about how your child will get to school
Suffolk County Council (SCC) introduced a new School Travel Policy in September 2019.
It is important that you understand how this might affect your child's eligibility for SCC funded school travel before you apply for a school place.
All children living in Suffolk who will be starting at a new school will be eligible for SCC funded school travel when they meet the statutory walking distance criteria from their home to the nearest suitable school that would have had a place available for them.
This would be whether or not an application was made for a place at that school. You can find full details about SCC funded school travel, including additional arrangements for low-income families and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) at www.suffolkonboard.com/schooltravel.
Check out these school travel scenarios (PDF, 100KB) if you're applying for a school place and use this guide on how to plan your child's journey to school or college and check when you can opt-in or apply for September 2020.
Can I apply for Suffolk County Council school travel?
You can apply for school travel for any one of the following four reasons:
Your child can only get Suffolk County Council funded school travel if they attend their nearest suitable school for the school year (2020/2021) and meet the criteria below:
- over 8 years old and live over 3 miles from the school using the shortest available walking route
- under 8 years old and live over 2 miles from the school using the shortest available walking route
A walking route can include public rights of way and footpaths that a child, accompanied as necessary, can walk to and from school with reasonable safety.
Your child may be eligible for Suffolk County Council funded school travel if your family receives the maximum level of Working Tax Credit or if your child receives free school meals.
If this applies to you, other factors that'll determine your eligibility will be considered alongside your income, such as age, distance and school attended.
3. Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND)
Travel to a school or college for students with SEND or mobility difficulties is assessed against our School and Post 16 Travel policies and the following distance criteria applies:
- 2 miles from the nearest suitable school if they're aged under 8
- 3 miles from the nearest suitable school if they're aged 8 or older
- 3 miles from the nearest post 16 educational provision and are aged 16 to 25
However, if they cannot walk because of their SEND or mobility difficulties, they may be entitled to funded or subsidised travel irrespective of the minimum distance criteria.
If your child is attending their nearest suitable school but is under the statutory distances as detailed above, your child may be eligible for SCC funded school travel if the route is assessed as not safe.
All walking routes to school may include some element of road safety risk.
Parents are responsible for accompanying their child (or children) as necessary and ensuring their child has suitable clothes and equipment for the journey.
- wet weather clothes
- reflective bands
The home to school journey will include:
- public rights of way (footpaths and footways)
- crossing fields
- wooded areas
National guidance is clear that conditions such as muddy footpaths or lack of street lighting do not mean that a route is not available.
Can I apply for the current school year? (September 2019)
We've already contacted students who are entitled to Suffolk County Council funded school travel that started school in September 2019.
Not heard from us?
- Read who can apply for school travel first (above) to check if you should apply for school travel
- Complete the online form below if you've not heard from us and need to contact us
When can I opt-in (apply) for September 2020?
If you're starting a new school in September 2020, your school offer email/letter will explain how to apply.
Returning pupils must opt-in
You must opt-in at suffolkonboard.com (apply) every year to keep receiving Suffolk County Council funded school travel if you return to the same school in September 2019.
You can apply from 1 March 2020 to 31 May 2021.
Late applications received after 31 May 2019 may delay your child from receiving Suffolk County Council funded school travel for September 2019.
By opting in, we can keep our details about you up to date and plan our transport services efficiently.
Suffolk Onboard is our website for school travel and public transport, including:
- journey planner
- getting to college and sixth form
- SEND transport
How to contact us
Contacting Customer Services online is quicker, easier and costs less than a phone call. You can contact us using:
- webchat from Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm
- email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you need to contact us by phone, call 0345 606 6067.
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