School transport

An introduction to free home-to-school entitlement and discretionary transport schemes

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Entitlement to free home-to-school transport

The general policy of the County Council is that free home-to school transport is provided only for children of compulsory school age (5 years up to 16 years) who:

  • are under 8 years of age and live two miles or more from the catchment school or nearest school; or
  • are 8 years of age and over and live three miles or more from the catchment school or nearest school.

Transport to free schools - free schools, where they are established, are additional to the existing pattern of schools in an area. For more information regarding transport to free schools please visit

Free home-to-school transport may be provided for students with learning difficulties and disabilities in mainstream education, at special schools and special units, where it is accepted that transport is necessary to enable access to the education they require. 

For full details of the home-to-school transport scheme, to make an application for school transport and access to online payments go to the Suffolk Onboard website.

Discretionary travel schemes

There are a number of different discretionary schemes for; children of compulsory school age, transport for post 16 students, travel to Roman Catholic schools; and for students with learning disabilities and or disabilities. These schemes can provide assistance to children, who do not meet the criteria to qualify for free travel.

For details about all the discretionary transport schemes and expression of interest forms go to the school transport pages on Suffolk Onboard.

Transport for post 16 students
It is now Government policy that all young people are expected to stay in some form of learning or training until they are 17. This will increase to age 18 from summer 2015. 

There is however no entitlement to free home-to-school transport from the age of 16, and the Government has not provided any further funding to support transport for those who reach this age. Students can apply to Suffolk County Council for travel assistance through the subsidised post 16 transport scheme, if they meet the criteria. A contribution towards this transport is required and there are no concessions. More details are available on Suffolk Onboard.

Further help and information

For all questions regarding home-to-school transport policies and discretionary school transport services please call 0345 606 6173 (read about the change from 0845 to 0345 numbers).