School Transport Information and Application Form
Before applying for your child/rens School Transport please make sure you read the Terms and Conditions of the service below:
Terms and Conditions – PLEASE READ
Note: This information is correct at time of publication but may be subject to change as a result of changes in the law or County Council policy.
This statement sets out Pembrokeshire County Council’s policy for the provision of home to school/college transport and is in accordance with the statutory requirements of the Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008 (the Measure).
a) Legal Duties
The legal duties of the Council in relation to school transport are as follows:
- To assess the travel needs of learners in their authority area;
- To provide free home to school transport for learners of compulsory school age attending primary school who live 2 miles or further from their nearest suitable school
- To provide free home to school transport for learners of compulsory school age attending secondary school who live 3 miles or further from their nearest suitable school;
- Assess and meet the needs of ‘looked after’ children in the authority’s area;
- Promote access to Welsh medium education;
- Promote sustainable modes of travel.
Free home to school transport will be provided according to the Measure and the Council’s policy as set out below
b) School Admissions
There are separate applications processes in place for school admissions and school transport. Parents may express a preference for a school place and the admission authority must meet that preference unless to do so would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources. However, it is important to note that obtaining a school place as part of the school admissions process does not automatically confer a right to free home to school transport, and parents must check their child’s entitlement for school transport before expressing a preference for a school place. Eligibility for school transport can be checked via the School Transport Eligibility Tracker
1. General policy on providing free school transport
a) Transport eligibility
Pupils will qualify for free home to school transport if they meet ALL of the following criteria:
- Are residents of Pembrokeshire (i.e. where Council Tax for registered home address is paid to Pembrokeshire County Council). Ordinary residence is where the learner usually lives or if under 16 where those with parental responsibility for the learner usually live; and if a learner has dual residence both places of residence should be regarded as the learner’s ordinary residence. A “parent” is defined in Section 576 of the Education Act 1996.
- Are of compulsory school age;
- Are attending the catchment area school which is designated by the Council to serve the pupil’s home address, or to the nearest suitable school
- Where a child of compulsory school age receiving primary education lives two miles or over from the nearest suitable school, or;
- Where a child of compulsory school age receiving secondary education, lives three miles or over from the nearest suitable school
Transport MAY also be provided for pupils of compulsory school age on the following grounds:
- Road Safety, where there is no available walking route to school. The walking route between the home address and school is assessed in accordance with the Measure guidelines on the Assessment of risk of walked routes to School.
- Medical condition. The Council will consider providing short term transport for pupils where a child requires transport on medical grounds.
- Learners with Additional Learning Needs/Disabilities - where certain criteria are met.
- A change of address during the final year of GCSE or A Level courses, in order to ensure continuity of education. Such provision will not continue into Years 12 and 13 where pupils move during Year 11.
Residents of Pembrokeshire - where Council Tax for registered home address is paid to Pembrokeshire County Council. Ordinary residence is where the learner usually lives or if under 16 where those with parental responsibility for the learner usually live; and if a learner has dual residence both places of residence should be regarded as the learner’s ordinary residence. A 'parent' as defined in Section 576 of the Education Act 1996.
Compulsory School Age – a child reaches compulsory school age in the term following their fifth birthday, with end of term dates being prescribed as the 31st August, 31st December and 31st March. A child ceases to be of compulsory school age if they have attained the age of 16 on the prescribed school leaving date, which is the last Friday in June, or before the next school year. The Council has no legal responsibility to provide transport for pupils under statutory school age and does not normally do so.
Walking Distances – Measurement of shortest available distance is taken from the point where the private dwelling meets the public highway to the point where the nearest school entrance meets the public highway.
Catchment Area – a geographical area, from which children may be afforded priority for admission to a school. A school’s catchment area is part of the admission arrangements. Each school’s catchment area is published on the Council’s website. It is important to note that School Transport eligibility is determined by the pupil’s home address and not which school s/he has attended. Primary feeder schools have no bearing on transport eligibility when transferring from primary to secondary schools and parents should always check this prior to applying for a school place.
Nearest Suitable School – The definition of nearest 'suitable school' is where the education or training provided is suitable having regard for the age, ability and aptitudes of the learner and any learning difficulties he or she may have. Deciding which suitable school is the learner’s ‘nearest’ is a matter for the local authority to determine. In Pembrokeshire, a child’s ‘nearest suitable school’ is published as part of the School Transport Eligibility Checker on the Council’s website.
Primary School – a school catering for learners aged 3-11, or 4-11. This definition also covers the primary element of an all-through school, i.e. 3-16, or 3-19.
Secondary School – a school catering for learners aged 11-16, or 11-19. This definition also covers the secondary element of an all-through school, i.e. 3-16, or 3-19.
Safe Walking Routes – The Council will provide transport where it considers that a pupil cannot walk the nearest available route in reasonable safety when accompanied, if need be, by an adult, and if the alternative route is over the statutory walking distance from the school. In assessing the safety of an available route, consideration is given to the potential risk created by traffic, highway and topographical conditions. Each case will be considered on its own merits.
Medical condition - Transport arrangements may be made where the medical condition of learners either prevents them from making use of the normal transport or the condition prevents them from walking the defined “statutory distance". All applications for assistance on medical grounds must be supported by a medical certificate or signed statement from a medical practitioner which must clearly state that the learner is incapable of walking the specified “statutory distance” to school. Each statement will be subject to a period of review determined by the condition and agreed with the parent at the time of initial award.
Learners with Additional Learning Needs / Disabilities – The Council will provide transport for eligible pupils in accordance with the following criteria:
- The pupil, because of his or her disability, is incapable of using the usual school transport provided for pupils of compulsory school age receiving primary education or secondary education, as defined above, and is unable to make use of any alternative means of transport such as a family car or Motability vehicle.
- The pupil lives within two miles of the catchment primary school or within three miles of the catchment secondary school but is incapable of walking to school and is unable to make use of any alternative means of transport, such as a family car or Motability vehicle.
- The Council’s Inclusion Panel recommends that a pupil should be placed in a school which is not the catchment school and the above criteria are met.
- Medical advice from the pupil’s Medical Consultant must confirm the above requirements. No other medical professional’s advice will be accepted.
Transport is not provided to pupils with additional learning needs or disabilities in the following circumstances:-
- where parents choose a non-catchment school
- to attend examinations outside the normal transport arrangements
- to attend Breakfast and After School Clubs
- to attend swimming lessons except if the child is a wheelchair user and cannot access swimming lessons otherwise, in which case the Council may pay the parent to transport the child
The Council may provide an attendant for pupils with additional learning needs who qualify for transport under the defined criteria. Provision of attendants will take place after consideration by relevant officers of the individual needs of the pupil or group of pupils concerned and the nature of the transport available and is at the discretion of the School Transport Unit .
In assessing the travel needs of learners, consideration is given to the potential stress and the amount of journey time and the safety of the transport/travel arrangements. Each case will be considered on its own merits.
c) Parental Preference for a different school
The Council will not provide transport or make any contribution towards transport costs for pupils admitted as a result of a parental expression of preference for a school which is not deemed as the ‘nearest suitable school’. In these circumstances parents are responsible for making their own transport arrangements and for meeting all transport costs. Parents must consider their child’s transport entitlement BEFORE making an expression of preference for a school place.
The determination of eligibility for school transport will be limited to the application being made for an individual child, not on the basis of a sibling’s attendance at a particular school or his/her transport entitlement. The only exception to this will be time-limited specific transport arrangements made as part of school organisation proposals.
e) Concessionary Travel
Pupils who are not eligible for free transport may be allowed concessionary places on contract vehicles, if there are spare seats available. Such concessionary places are temporary and tenuous and may be withdrawn at any time at the discretion of the Authority e.g. when seats become unavailable. This could take place at short notice and responsibility for transport then reverts to parents. The Authority must determine the number of eligible pupils requiring transport in order to identify whether or not spare places are available on contract vehicles. Therefore concessionary passes are not issued until a few weeks into the school year. There is a currently no charge for concessionary school bus passes but this may change in the future.
Applications for concessionary school bus passes will be assessed based on the learners age, with priority given to those who have been at the school longest and are studying for A Levels and GCSEs.
f) Transport for learners aged 16+
The Authority will provide discretionary transport beyond the compulsory school age where a Pembrokeshire learner resides over three miles from the catchment school (if there is a sixth form available) or the nearest college where a suitable programme of study is available. The learner must be studying full time and under 19 years of age on 1st September of the academic year in which the course is taken.
Transport will be provided to the catchment area secondary school which is designated by the Authority to serve the learner's home address, or to the nearest suitable college. It is not the practice of the Authority to provide transport on the basis of individual subject choices. Where there is no sixth form available at a pupil’s catchment or nearest suitable school, Pembrokeshire College has been determined to be the suitable place of study for further education.
g) Transport to Welsh medium provision
Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria identified above, the Council will provide free transport as follows:
Pupils will receive free transport if they live within the designated catchment of a Welsh medium or Dual Stream school, and satisfy the distance criteria outlined above. Free transport will not be provided to pupils whose parents choose to access Welsh medium primary provision at another school.
There are two schools providing secondary Welsh medium education in Pembrokeshire, namely, Ysgol Bro Preseli and Ysgol Caer Elen. Free transport will be determined by a pupil’s home address and the relevant school catchment area which serves that address. Both schools have their own catchment areas.
h) Faith Schools
Normal catchment area arrangements apply save that the Authority will only provide transport on a concessionary basis to the nearest faith school within eight miles of the pupil's home where the pupil lives outside the statutory walking distance and where admission to the school is on faith grounds as evidenced by a supporting letter from the pupil's local priest/vicar.
i) Bus Passes
A bus pass will be issued to those pupils entitled to transport, subject to the completion of an 'Application for School Transport Bus Pass' form. Passes must be carried daily and must be available for inspection by Authority Officers or contractors' personnel. Pupils without a bus pass may be refused travel. A £5 charge will be made for a replacement bus pass. The application form for a bus pass must be completed and submitted online.
In the case of primary school pupils, they will be issued with a bus pass, but they will not be required to carry it on a daily basis. The Parent/Guardian should present it on the first day of travel so that the driver is aware that they have a pass and are entitled to travel.
j) Transport to Schools in Neighbouring Local Authority Areas
The Authority will provide transport in accordance with the law and Authority policy in respect of pupils attending schools in neighbouring Local Authority areas.
2. Nature of Transport Provision
Where transport arrangements are the responsibility of the Council, it will decide the most appropriate type of transport to be provided, or whether to provide parents with an allowance where it is appropriate and suitable.
a) Codes of Conduct
The Welsh Government has drawn up Travel Codes for all parties involved with school transport and these give advice and guidance on how the journey to and from school may be undertaken safely.
b) Pick-up / Drop-off points
Due to the rural nature of the County it is not always possible to arrange the routes of vehicles to pass close to the homes of all pupils travelling. Parents may therefore be required to make their own arrangements for their children to get to and from the nearest pick-up / drop-off point. Every effort will be made to keep this distance as short as possible. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that pupils are safely escorted to and from the vehicle.
c) Pupil Behaviour
Pupils whose behaviour during the journey to and from school is not of an acceptable standard or in compliance with the travel behaviour Code may have the agreed travelling arrangements withdrawn and responsibility for transport to and from school will then fall on parents. Transport can be withdrawn provided the learner has failed to comply with the Travel Behaviour Code and the conditions applicable to the learner set out in the Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008 are satisfied. CCTV cameras will be used on certain vehicles to monitor behaviour. The driver will be responsible for the supervision of pupils on the vehicle during the journey to and from school. The driver will report any incidents of bad behaviour to the Authority and the travelling arrangements may be withdrawn. Smoking and vaping is not permitted on vehicles contracted to the Authority.
d) Parental Responsibility in relation to School Transport
Parents have the responsibility for:
- getting their child to and from school, where they do not qualify for transport;
- ensuring that they are aware of school transport entitlement prior to applying for a school place;
- applying to the Council for school transport where their child qualifies, and within the set deadlines;
- ensuring that their child is ready and waiting for transport at the appropriate time and place. The safety of the child is the responsibility of parents before embarking and after disembarking the bus. It is the parent's responsibility to make arrangements for their child to meet the transport provided and for their child to be accompanied to and from the vehicle if required;
- ensuring that their child's behaviour while using school transport is socially acceptable and complies with the approved Travel Codes;
- getting their child to and from school where transport has been withdrawn due to bad behaviour;
- informing the Authority in writing when school transport is no longer required.
The Authority or Contractors will seek recompense from parents where responsibility for wilful damage rests with their children.
f) Review of School Transport Routes
The Authority will review routes and transport provision on a regular basis in order to improve efﬁciency. Route changes may be implemented during the course of an academic year.
g) Inclement Weather
In cases of inclement weather, or other unforeseen circumstances, there may be temporary alterations to the transport provided. In some circumstances it may not be possible to operate a route at all or to serve only part of a route. If a school/college route does not operate in the morning, due to inclement weather, but parents choose to take their child(ren) to school themselves, then they will be required to make arrangements to collect their child(ren) at the end of the school day.
3. Applying for School Transport
Applications for school transport must be made via the 'My Account' facility on the Council’s website, but not before parents receive confirmation of a school place from the Admissions Service. In order to ensure effective and efficient school transport provision, applications must be received by the following deadlines:
Normal admission round
All other times
By 31st May
As soon as possible following confirmation of a school place
By 30th April
As part of the application process, the Council will publish a privacy notice which will explain why it collects and keeps parents’ and pupils’ personal information, how it is used and what it does with the information collected.
4. Transport Appeals
In the case of a dispute relating to any decision to award or reject an application for transport, an appeal should be made in writing to the Integrated Transport Unit (ITU), using the School Transport Appeal Form which can be found on the Council’s website. If a parent is dissatisfied with the procedures used by the ITU to deal with their request, they can ask the Director of Education to review the ITU’s actions. If the Director concludes that the ITU has not followed its procedure, has acted unreasonably, or has failed to carry out its statutory duty to deal with the request then the Director can ask the ITU to reconsider its decision.
Where parents appeal against the Council’s decision not to provide free school transport, they must submit their appeal in writing no later than 14 days following the date of notification. Consequently, the Council should ensure that the grounds for appeal are investigated appropriately and that the decision is communicated to parents within 30 days of the receipt of the letter of appeal.
5. Contact Details
Integrated Transport Unit
Tel: 01437 775222