Help with school and college transport

Overview

There are 4 types of help available for school and college transport:

To promote and develop independence, taxi travel is only considered in cases where all alternative options are thought to be unsuitable.

View the Transport Partnership Policy Statement and the Home to School Transport Policy 2024.

See the government guidance around free school transport, GOV.UK: Free school transport explained: From who's eligible to how it works.

Eligibility

Please see below for information on who is eligible. 

  • Children who go to their nearest suitable school and live at least:
    • 2 miles from the school if they're under 8
    • 3 miles from the school if they're 8 or older
  • Children who can't walk to school because there's no safe walking route 
  • Children who can't walk to school because of their special educational need, disability or mobility problem
  • If you get the maximum Working Tax Credit or your children are entitled to free school meals, they can get help with transport if they're:
    • aged 8 to 11 and the school is at least 2 miles away
    • aged 11 to 16 and the school is 2 to 6 miles away - as long as there aren't 3 or more suitable schools nearer to home
    • aged 11 to 16 and the school is 2 to 15 miles away - if it's their nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief

Proof of eligibility

If applicable, you will need to provide proof of your entitlement to the maximum level of Working Tax Credit.

If your child goes to their nearest school preferred on the grounds of religion or belief, you must provide clear written evidence to demonstrate why you chose this school.

We may also ask the relevant admission authority for written confirmation of the admission category which your child was offered a place.

When to apply

You can apply for support at any time.

To make sure it is in place for the start of the academic year, please apply by 5 May.

  • March - applications for the next academic year open.
  • 5 May - to make sure that your transport is in place by September, please apply by 5 May. Applications made after this date may result in delays to the transport support.
  • August - parents / carers will get a letter detailing the outcome of their application.

For bus passes, please apply by June for the start of the next school year.

When is it appropriate to apply for support

If your child meets the eligibility criteria please only apply for help if you are unable to get your child to school without additional support.

South Tyneside Council is committed to promoting both sustainability and independence.

Applications are processed with a focus on developing the independence of the child.

With this in mind, taxi and mini bus transport will only be considered in cases where all other forms of support are thought to be unsuitable.

Please think carefully before requesting a taxi as there may be a more effective way we can support your family.

View the home to school transport privacy notice.

Personal Transport Budget

A Personal Transport Budget is help towards the cost of getting your child to school or college and back.

This can be used towards:

  • the cost of fuel or car share agreements
  • public transport
  • anything else that supports you to make your own arrangements to get your child to school

This is normally calculated at 40p per mile. If the journey requires travel through the Tyne Tunnel this is calculated at two journeys per day at the Tyne Tunnel permit rate.

This is usually paid as a lump sum when transport help begins.

Apply for a Personal Transport Budget

Apply online:

Apply for a Personal Transport Budget

If you have any issues accessing the online form, please contact the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Transport Team by:

What happens after you have applied

  1. If you apply online, we will email you a confirmation of your application.
  2. If you get the maximum level of Working Tax Credit, you need to provide proof of this to support your application. You can email your proof to transport.team@southtyneside.gov.uk, or post to: Transport team, South Shields Town Hall, Westoe Road, South Shields, NE33 2RL.
  3. We will review your application, and will contact you if we have any questions.
  4. If you are applying for support for the current academic year, please note that applications can take up to 10 working days to process. We will notify you of the outcome as soon as we can.
  5. If you are applying for transport support for the 2024 / 25 academic year, you will be notified of the outcome by e-mail in August.

 

Applying after the deadline date

Please note the deadline for 2024 / 25 academic year applications is 5 May.

If you apply after this date, we cannot guarantee that support will be in place by the start of the school year.

Independent travel training

The council offers travel training to young people with different disability needs.

This training helps young people build up their skills and confidence so that they can travel to and from school independently.

For more information see Independent travel training.

Taxi or mini bus travel

  • Depending on the needs of the child, the transport would either be a car, small mini bus or large mini bus.
  • Vehicles will arrive at approximately the same time each day however variations are inevitable due to traffic.
  • Every effort is made to keep the vehicles, drivers and passenger assistants consistent however, changes are sometimes unavoidable.
  • Passenger assistants accompany all pre 16 pupils as a responsible adult. They are not medical assistants.

Apply for taxi or mini bus travel

Apply online:

Apply for taxi or mini bus travel

If you have any issues accessing the online form, please contact the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Transport Team by:

What happens after you have applied

  1. If you apply online, we will email you a confirmation of your application.
  2. If you get the maximum level of Working Tax Credit, you need to provide proof of this to support your application. You can email your proof to transport.team@southtyneside.gov.uk, or post to: Transport team, South Shields Town Hall, Westoe Road, South Shields, NE33 2RL.
  3. We will review your application, and will contact you if we have any questions.
  4. If you are applying for transport support for the 2024 / 25 academic year, you will be notified of the outcome by e-mail in August.
  5. If you are applying for support for the current academic year, please note that applications can take up to 10 working days to process. We will notify you of the outcome as soon as we can.

Applying after the deadline date

Please note the deadline for 2024 / 25 academic year applications is 5 May.

If you apply after this date, we cannot guarantee that support will be in place by the start of the school year.

Bus pass for public transport

There are a number of different bus passes you can apply for depending on your child's age and circumstances.

Eligible pupils will be given Nexus bus passes. Passes are valid for one year and new applications should be made in June.

For more information on bus travel for school and college, see travelling to and from school.


5-16 year olds

A bus pass which can be used on public transport, to travel to and from school only.

This is available for school pupils up to 16 years old.


Disabled children (5-17 year olds)

If your child is disabled and aged 5-17, you can apply for an All Day Concessionary Travel Pass.

For more information, call 0191 427 2680.


Disabled adults (over 18)

If your child is over 18 you can apply for a disabled persons bus pass.

This allows travel from 9.30am onwards on weekdays and all day on weekends and public holidays. For more information, see bus passes for disabled adults.


Apply for a bus pass for public transport

5 to 16 year olds

To apply for a bus pass for public transport 5 to 16 year olds, call 0191 424 7755.

Disabled children (5-17 year olds)

To apply for a bus pass for disabled children aged 5 to 17 years old, you will need to provide proof of your child's eligibility.

You can do this by emailing Travel.Training@southtyneside.gov.uk or visiting South Shields Town Hall. 

Please note: We are not always available at the Town Hall so a member of the customer service team will need to scan the information to us. We aim to get back to you as soon as possible. 

You will need to provide proof of your address (a utility bill, council tax letter or an official government letter) and one of the following:

  • proof of your child's EHCP
  • letter of diagnosis
  • proof that your child gets higher rate for the mobility part of Disability Living Allowance

A member of staff will check to see whether your child is eligible.

If they are eligible for a pass, you will be given an eligibility form which you will need to upload to an online Nexus form at Nexus: Disabled children.

Disabled adults (over 18)

To apply for a bus pass for disabled adults (over 18), see bus passes for disabled adults.

Appealing a decision

If you do not agree with the outcome of the application, you can appeal by writing to the JHead of Learning and Early Help either:

  • by post to South Shields Town Hall, Westoe Road, NE33 2RL

or

Contact us and give feedback

If you need to speak to someone about home to school / college transport, contact the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Transport Team on 0191 427 2680 or transport.team@southtyneside.gov.uk.

Give feedback

We encourage all families to give feedback on their experience of home to school transport. This can be done directly by either phone, email or letter.

If you would prefer to give feedback via an independent organisation on your experiences of home to school or college transport, please email info@healthwatchsouthtyneside.co.uk who will pass details to the Transport team anonymously.