Free school transport

Last updated: 3 October 2017

You can apply to get free school transport from your local council for your child if:

  • their school isn't within 'walking distance'
  • your family has a low income
  • they have certain 'additional support' needs - for example a disability
  • they can't attend a school in their catchment area
  • their walk or cycle to school isn't safe
  • they have a health issue that affects their mobility
Your council may give you free transport for other reasons. Contact them to discuss your situation.

How to get school transport

Each local council has a different application process for getting free school transport.

Walking distance

A school isn't within walking distance if you live:

  • 2 miles or more from the school if your child is under 8
  • 3 miles or more from the school if your child is 8 or older

If your child is over 16 your local council may continue to help with transport costs.

Families with low incomes

If your family has a low income, your local council may offer free transport if you live within walking distance of the school.

Check with your local council to see if they can help.

Children with additional support needs or health issues

Local councils may provide free transport if your child has certain additional support needs.

They may also provide free transport if your child has a health issue, for example a mobility issue.

Contact your local council to find out if they can support you.

Schools outside your 'catchment area'

Your council probably won't provide free transport if you choose to put your child in a school outside of your area.

They may provide transport if your child has to go to a school outside your area (for example if there are no spaces in your local school). They can charge for this transport.

Safe route

Your child should be given transport to school if there's no safe walking or cycling route. It's up to the local council whether you will be charged for this.

Contact your local council if you think your child's journey to school isn't safe.

How to complain about school transport

If you're unhappy about school transport, you should complain to your local council first.

Some councils allow you to make a complaint online using the resolver service.

If you're not happy with your council's response, you can complain to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).

If your child is refused school transport you may be able to take legal action. Speak to Citizen's Advice or get legal advice for further information.