Skip to content

We use cookies to make the site simpler. By continuing to use this site and closing this message you agree to our use of cookies.Find out more about cookies

Close alert

Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

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 groupSchool typeDistance from schoolAdditional 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.

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 for free school transport

Apply using the online form. If you are unable to do so, use the free school transport paper application form.

Start now

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

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 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

Your feedback

This form is to report content that is wrong, or any issues or feedback you have about the web page.

Contact us if you want to get in touch about a council service instead.

All fields are required.

Leave your email address so that we can provide a response.

This helps us direct your feedback to the appropriate council.

General data protection regulation (GDPR)

We will only use the personal information supplied by you in accordance with GDPR. By giving us this information you are consenting to such use as set out in our privacy notice.