Free School Transport - Do you Qualify?
Whilst it is the parent's responsibility to secure their children's education, South
Ayrshire Council is happy to help you get your child of school age to school, safely
and on time. That is why school crossing patrols are provided and why we operate
a school transport policy which is more generous than the law requires.
Please Note: The safe walking distance to/from primary schools
is 2 miles.
The policy states that we provide free school transport if:
- Your child lives more than two miles from his or her catchment primary school (By
the shortest safe walking route).
- Your child lives more than three miles from his or her catchment secondary school
(by the shortest safe walking route).
- Your child has been recommended on health grounds by a designated medical officer.
- Your child has been assessed to attend a school to meet the requirements of his/her
additional support needs. (These assessments involve Psychological Services who
also recommend appropriate transport arrangements).
- Your child has to walk a route which after seeking the Council's Road Safety Office's
advice is considered by the Children and Community Department to be unsafe for children.
What free school transport means:
The Children and Community department identify the need for the provision. For primary
and secondary schools we work through Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT)
who engage the operators to provide free school transport. For additional support
needs the Children and Community department undertake all arrangements.
The choice of the precise mode of transport depends on a variety of factors and
is decided by the Children and Community department after taking all circumstances
This can result in any of the following:
- Dedicated school contract bus (service solely for pupils)
- Bus pass on local service bus (which can either be a commercial service or subsidised
local service also carrying members of the public).
- Train pass on service train
- The Council's own school transport vehicles
- Taxi, private hire cars or minibus.
Free transport normally covers one return journey, to school in the morning and
home at the end of the school day. No additional provision is made for home journeys
for infants who may have a shorter day until September each year. Children not collected
by parents are supervised until the end of the normal school day.
Parents of pupils wishing to return home for lunch have to make their own arrangements.
Special arrangements are made locally where possible to cover pupils taking part
in school activities after the end of the normal school day.
When to apply for free transport
If your child is starting primary school you should apply when you enrol him or
her for school. If your child is going into secondary school you should apply in
February of his or her last year at primary school. You can apply at a later time
but there could be a delay while arrangements are being made. Should you move house
at any time during the year you must ensure that the Children and Community department
are notified of your new address. To ensure that transport is arranged, at least
2 weeks notice is required.
What happens after you apply?
You will be informed by the Children and Community department by letter, on the
outcome of your application. Staff at County Buildings, Ayr will be happy to discuss
this or any other matter connected with your child's application with you. If your
application relates to a child already attending a school and it is successful we
will aim to notify you of the arrangements before the end of June, although there
can sometimes be a delay into the summer holiday period.
If you wish to appeal against any decision made regarding your application for school
transport you may do so by writing to the Director of Children and Community within
10 working days of receipt of the decision, indicating the grounds on which you
wish to make your appeal.
We would ask you to encourage your child to behave properly and safely when boarding,
travelling on the transport and alighting from it. As parents you are responsible
for ensuring that your child arrives at the pick-up point on time.
Misbehaviour could result in your child losing the right to free transport.
The responsibility of ensuring safe and acceptable behaviour remains YOURS while
your child is travelling in the vehicle provided. In the case of misbehaviour, the
driver may retain the children's ticket/pass for the identification of pupils involved.
The incident will then be reported to the driver's supervisor. Details will be sent
to the Head Teacher and parents will be invited to an interview with the Head Teacher
for assurance on their children's good conduct prior to the return of the 'free'
travel pass. During this period parents/guardians will be responsible for making
their own arrangements for the attendance of their child at school.
If you need to know more or would like to complain
If you have any enquiries about the eligibility of your child for transport please
contact the Children and Community department
Parents who have any concern or complaint on the provision of school transport should
contact the school their child attends by telephoning giving the details which will
then be recorded and submitted to SPT. (Parents may also complain direct to SPT in writing to reinforce their concerns). SPT will respond
directly to parents and advise the school on the outcome of any investigations.
SPT is responsible for awarding primary and secondary school contracts and for their
day to day operation. SPT actively monitors the performance of school transport
contracts through the deployment of a team of specialist inspectors. To assist in
monitoring SPT welcomes comments or concerns from schools or from parents.
Walking Distance - Shortest walking route between your home and
the local school. Two miles for primary schools and three miles for secondary schools.
Medical - Requests for transport on medical grounds should, in
the first instance, be supported by a letter from your GP and this request will
then be referred to the schools' medical officer who will arrange to have your child
Safety - In considering issues of safety the Council's Road Safety
Officer may be asked to assess the route either in full or in part and make recommendations
to the Director of Children and Community.
Placing Requests - Please note that if your child attends a school
by means of a placing request you are responsible for arranging transport to school.
Data Protection Act 1998
Your information will be used by South Ayrshire Council for the purpose of administration
of school transport and to confirm and update the Council's records held for this
Download an Application Form
School Transport - do you qualify?