Free school transport entitlement
Free school transport is for children from reception up to year 11 who meet the eligibility criteria and live in the Dorset Council area. Find school transport information if you live in Christchurch.
The table shows which students are eligible. This is based on the safe walking distance from the school and other criteria:Eligibility criteria for free school transport
|Year group||School type||Distance from school||Additional criteria|
|Reception to year 4||Catchment or nearest||2 or more miles (shortest walking)||N/A|
|Year 5 to year 11||Catchment or nearest||3 or more miles (shortest walking)||
|Year 5 to year 6||Catchment or nearest||2 or more miles (shortest walking)||See qualifying benefits.
|Year 7 to year 11||3 nearest schools||between 2 miles (shortest walking) and 6 miles (shortest driven)||See qualifying benefits.|
|Year 7 to year 11||nearest religious/faith school||between 2 miles (shortest walking) and 15 miles (shortest driven)||See qualifying benefits.|
If you claim the highest level of Working Tax Credits, you must send a full copy of your recent tax credits letter.
If you are applying on religious or faith reasons, you must include evidence to support this claim or tell us if you gave this when you applied for the school place.
Find out more in the home to school transport policy.
Apply using the online form. If you are unable to do so, use the free school transport paper application form.
Appeal a school transport decision
Paid transport: Surplus Seat Travel Scheme
Students who are unable to get free school transport may be eligible to pay for school transport through Surplus Seat Travel Scheme. This scheme offers spare seats on school transport for an annual charge.
Students in years 12 and 13 (also called post 16 transport)
Children over 16 can not get free school transport for school or college. However, they may be eligible to pay for school transport through the Surplus Seat Travel Scheme. We can assist with travel expenses for post 16 in certain circumstances. Some establishments also provide bursaries to individual students. Contact the school or college for more information.
We have a 'one school' one operator' (OSOO) contract with the operators providing additional capacity above the Surplus Seats Travel Scheme. These are not surplus so do attract full cost charges.
Safety of route between home and school
Some students could get free school transport if their walking route from home to their catchment or nearest school are considered unsafe to walk when accompanied by an adult. Find out more about walking route safety.