Home-to-school travel support for sixth form and college students

Local authorities do not have to provide home-to-school travel support for young people in post-16 education. The only students we can normally support are those with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) who meet our eligibility criteria. 

Students in financial hardship may be able to get help through a bursary.  

Reaseheath College, Macclesfield College and Cheshire College South and West organise their own transport and offer free or subsidised bus services. Others may also do so.

If you are not eligible for help with transport

Options for young people who are not eligible for help with transport

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Students with an EHCP  going to college or sixth form may be eligible for subsidised travel assistance if all the following apply:

  • they cannot walk to the school or college because of mobility problems or health and safety concerns related to their SEN or disability
  • no other suitable transport arrangement is in place
  • they are enrolled on a full time course - at least 540 directed learning hours over 30 or more weeks (except where exceptional circumstance apply) 
  • the college or sixth form is the closest publicly-funded establishment offering the course (or similar), or we have placed the student in an alternative college or sixth form

Students with an EHCP  aged between 19 and 25 may get free transport support, depending on their needs.

Our post-16 transport policy statement gives full details of eligibility criteria.

When we assess applications, we consider some or all of the following points:

  • whether the student can use public transport, either alone or with a responsible adult (we encourage young people to develop independent travel skills wherever possible)
  • the length or complexity of the journey
  • whether the student needs a passenger assistant
  • the family's financial circumstances
  • whether the student is receiving personal independence payment (PIP)
  • whether there is a family member able to take the student to college - if not, you should explain this in your application
  • if the student has a mobility vehicle 
  • any other relevant circumstances

The Post-16 Travel Policy Statement for 2024/25 has been updated and there have been several changes made, including the offer of a personal travel budget where this is the lowest cost option for the local authority. There are some circumstances where it is more cost-effective for the local authority to provide transport, such as travel to a specialist post-16 setting which is outside of the local authority borough, or where we are already providing transport for younger children to the same or similar location.

The mileage rate for the Personal Travel Budget ( PTB ) is 45 pence per mile for two return journeys per day. You can find further details within our Education Travel Payments Policy.  

If you are offered travel assistance in the form of transport provided by the Local Authority, this is subject to a financial contribution. The financial contribution is a fixed amount that parents or carers must pay towards the total cost of transport arrangements for sixth form or college students with SEND if the offer of transport is made. The amount of the contribution is the same, no matter what the young person's needs or the travel distance or type. 

The total amount for the 2023 - 2024 school year is £450. From September 2024 onwards, this will increase to £900 for the academic year 2024 - 2025. You can pay for the full year in one go or in instalments, either per half term per term. You must pay in advance.

If you are able to accept the offer of a personal travel budget, please note that you will not be required to make the parental contribution, which is £900 for the academic year. This applies to 16-18 year old students, and adult learners that started their course before their 19th birthday.

To pay the financial contribution for school or college travel for pupils with SEND in post-16 education:

School Transport SEND Payment

If you do not pay the financial contribution 

We may withdraw transport assistance if you do not pay the financial contribution.

For support for students with an EHCP  moving into post-16 education, or for students continuing their post-16 education, applications are usually invited before the end of May in the year they are due to start the post-16 course. This date does change, depending on when the updated post-16 travel policy statement is published. 

For those students applying for travel assistance to start in September 2024, all applications received before 30 June 2024 will be assessed within 4 weeks. If you apply after 30 June 2024, applications will be assessed as soon as possible; however, arrangements may not be in place ready for the start of the course. Successful applicants will then be notified in July regarding the type of travel assistance being offered.

For travel assistance to start during the current school year, apply as soon as you can. We will start to look at the application straightaway. A final decision is then normally taken at the first Travel Assistance Panel (TAP) meeting after we get the application. We will let you know the decision as soon as possible.

Sometimes we may need more time to look at the details of the young person's situation. We will keep in touch with you if this is the case. Once we make a decision, we normally write to you within 4 weeks.

Parents/carers are responsible for getting the young person to school while we assess the application and make arrangements. We do not refund travel expenses. 

Supporting information

When you apply, you can upload evidence from medical professionals to support the application.

Apply for post 16 transport

To find out how we use your information see our privacy notice (opens in a new window).

Applications for post-16 travel assistance need to be completed each year. We will contact you during the spring term to advise when the Post-16 Travel Policy Statement has been published, and when you can apply for the following academic year.

Bursaries for post-16 students 

Vulnerable students may be able to get a vulnerable student bursary funded by central government. Others may be able to get a discretionary bursary funded by their sixth form or college. For information on both types of bursary, talk to the school or college. Full eligibility details are at GOV.UK - 16-19 bursary fund.

More information about post-16 travel

Our post-16 travel policy statement sets out the eligibility criteria for travel assistance for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and has information about concessionary fares, passes and travel cards, and bursaries and support for vulnerable pupils.

Contact the school transport team

For enquiries about home-to-school travel support for children and young people with an EHCP, email educationtravelpolicies@cheshireeast.gov.uk or phone 01270 686521 . 

For other enquiries, email SENDTransport@cheshireeast.gov.uk or phone 01270 371496 or 01270 371485.

Page last reviewed: 11 April 2024