We want your views on our proposed Home to School Transport Policy (0 to 25 year olds), our consultation opens 31 January 2024.  

Home to school travel for eligible children is a statutory service that we must deliver, and our home to school transport policy provides the framework for the services we provide.

We have updated our home to school transport policy as a result of a review of the current policy and have taken account of the Department for Education's revised guidance on travel to school for children of compulsory school age. We have updated the policy in order to make it clearer and easier to understand.

The proposed policy will apply for the 2024 to 2025 academic year onwards and will apply to both new and existing applications.

Proposed changes to school transport policy

The policy sets out  our approach to providing transport to schools/educational settings for students up to 19 years old, and up to 25 for students with special educational needs and disabilities. 

The changes made to the policy are intended to make the eligibility and travel options clearer and easier to understand by:

  • including a clear introduction explaining what the reader can expect to learn from the document
  • clearly explaining all four categories of eligible children - statutory walking distances; special educational needs, disabilities, and mobility problems; unsafe walking routes; and extended rights.
  • including information on how a parent can apply for travel to school
  • clearly explaining terms such as ‘home address’ and ‘nearest suitable school’
  • where appropriate, explaining that a child’s nearest school for school travel purposes and how this may not be their nearest suitable school for admissions purposes
  • clearly explaining how a child’s eligibility will be assessed. This includes how distances will be measured and how route safety is assessed
  • clearly explaining that the eligibility of children with special educational needs, a disability or mobility problems will be assessed on an individual basis
  • clearly explaining the ways in which travel is provided, for example, passes for public service buses, dedicated school buses, taxis, personal budget, and independent travel training

Before you respond to this consultation, please have a look at the following document:

How to have your say

You can tell us your views in one of the following ways:

Please tell us your views by midnight on Monday 10 March 2024

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

The Local Authority's 'Home to School Transport' Policy has been updated following a review of the service and in order to take account of the updated statutory guidance from the Department of Education published in June 2023.

To help you understand the consultation process and how changes to the policy may affect you, there are a series of frequently asked questions (FAQ) below which you may find useful.

Please be aware that any current home to school transport arrangements are unlikely to be affected unless there is a change in circumstances, such as a change of address or a move to a different school.

If you have a query or concern about home to school transport, including travel on public transport which is not related specifically to this consultation, please email schooltransport@warrington.gov.uk

How long do I have to engage in the consultation?

The consultation will go live on Friday 31 January and will end on Sunday 10 March 2024 at midnight.

Who is invited to engage in the consultation?

The aim is to capture as many people as possible who may be affected by the proposed changes so consultation responses are being invited from the parents/carers of children and young people who are currently in receipt of home to school transport provision of all ages including SEND, and those families who have children and young people who are likely to require transport assistance in the future.

All educational establishments in Warrington are invited to participate as well as those outside of the local area that are attended by children and young people who live in Warrington.

In addition, we welcome engagement with the parent/carer forums, WARRPAC, other local authorities, council employees and elected members, who will also be invited to participate in the consultation.

My young person would like to engage in the Consultation. Can they have their say too?

The opinions of young people are valuable to us and we encourage everyone to have their say. We would like to request that parents/carers support children wherever possible to enable them to provide their feedback to the survey.

Will I be asked to make a contributory payment towards the cost of my child's transport?

The update to the home to school transport' policy, does not mean that we are introducing any new additional charges towards transport provision.

Notification of any charges will always be confirmed once approval of transport assistance has been granted and, in all cases, low-income criteria will always be considered.

Will I need to make a new application for transport assistance following changes to policy?

If there are no changes to the child's current circumstances, for example a change of school or home address, there will be no need to make a new application for transport in the current year.

The standard renewal process will include notification on the need to reapply where appropriate, as it has in previous years.

My child attends a school which is outside of Warrington can I still engage in the consultation?

Yes. The consultation is open to all Warrington residents regardless of which school the child is attending.

My child attends a Warrington school but lives outside of the borough, will these changes affect their entitlement to transport?

You will need to contact your local authority to see if they are engaging in any consultation relating to changes to their own ‘Home to School Transport’ policies. These policy changes will only apply to Warrington residents. To establish which local authority you should contact, please visit:

Find your local council - GOV.UK

My young person is/will be in further education during the next academic year and may still need transport assistance. Will the policy changes affect their entitlement to transport?

The home to school policy includes clarity on our legal obligations with regards to providing free transport for post 16 students.  The post 16 transport policy statement is a statutory requirement, which is reviewed and published annually in May.

I will be moving address during the consultation period, will I still be able to have my say?

Yes, your responses will still be considered as part of the consultation. You must re-apply for transport assistance in the meantime however, so that eligibility for transport assistance from your new address can be established.

Under the proposed changes, can I request a personal transport budget (PTB) when I apply for transport assistance?

Yes, you can make a request to be considered for a personal travel budget. However, if there is space on an existing route that is suitable for your child's needs we will offer this space to you, instead of the personal travel budget.

If I have a personal travel budget arrangement with the local authority, do I need to inform anyone if my child is not going to attend school for any reason?

If you have any planned holidays and any known absences from school, you should advise us so that we can make any adjustments to the payment due for the next term. The personal travel budget payments are for home to school journeys only and are not provided to fund any journeys required to travel to other destinations. Payments that have been made in advance, where a child does then not attend school, may be recovered.

My child currently lives at two separate addresses as we have dual custody, can I apply for transport assistance to and from both addresses?

Unfortunately not. We only have a statutory duty to provide transport assistance to and from one address which is identified as the child's home address. The home address is defined as the one in receipt of child benefit.

My child is attending a feeder school to a particular secondary school. According to policy, will they be entitled to free transport assistant if I choose this secondary school, and they are offered a place?

Please consider your school choices carefully as eligibility for free transport does not need to consider which primary school the child previously attended. Although it is accepted why a parent may want their child to move to the same secondary school as their peers, eligibility for transport is determined based on the child's home address and whether or not they are attending their nearest appropriate school at the time of the assessment.

What will happen with my responses to the consultation?

Your responses will be combined with everyone else's to form an anonymous report. This report will be used to understand community views and inform our decision-making. We will publish a summary of the feedback received alongside our decision.

When will the new changes be implemented?

It is the intention that the updated Home to School Transport Policy will be implemented for September 2024-25 academic year.


What happens next

We will consider all the feedback we receive before publishing the final home to school transport policy.   We will update this page with the outcome of the consultation.

Data Protection and Confidentiality

We comply with all legislation governing the protection of personal information, including the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The information you provide through this survey will be kept secure and analysed by Warrington Borough Council. To find out more please visit warrington.gov.uk/data-protection-policywarrington.gov.uk/privacy

Other formats

If you have any concerns or questions about the survey, require the questionnaire in another language or format including large print, Braille, audio or British Sign Language or simply require assistance in completing the form email equalities@warrington.gov.uk

31 May 2024