About travel assistance in Coventry

Travel Assistance (home to school)

In 2017 we introduced a new travel policy for Statutory School Age pupils and a new Post 16 Travel Statement. These were introduced as Coventry has undertaken a review of long-standing policies to ensure they meet the latest DfE and Government Guidance. The Post 16 Statement is reviewed annually [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/3811/travel_assistance_policies].

A public consultation was undertaken throughout November 2016 to January 2017.  Whilst reviewing these policies Coventry wanted to ensure preparing for adulthood was at the centre of any changes being made.

Travel assistance

For children of compulsory school age (Reception to Year 11)

The Council will provide travel assistance to pupils who meet the criteria set out in our policy. This will normally be in the form of a bus pass.

Your child must meet all the below criteria

  1. Live permanently in Coventry
  2. Be of compulsory school age (Reception to year 11)
  3. Attend a qualifying school

Your child must also meet at least one of the below criteria

  1.  Live more than the 'statutory walking distance' from his or her 'qualifying school'
  2.  Be unable to make the journey safely, even when accompanied, to his or her 'qualifying school' because of their special educational need or disability.

Read the Home to School Travel Assistance Policy [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/file/27695/home_to_school_statutory_school_age_policy] for Pupils from Reception to Year 11.

Independent travel training

Our Independent Travel Trainers [https://www.coventry.gov.uk/itt] offer personalised training to teach a young person to travel to and from school or college on their own, usually using public transport. For more information please email ITT@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:ITT@coventry.gov.uk]

Your questions answered

What age groups do you consider Travel Assistance for?

  • Statutory School age: Year Reception to Year 11 (age 4/5 - 15/16)
  • Post 16: Age 16-18 (Year groups 12-14)
  • Post 19: Age 19-25

My child has an EHC Plan, does that mean that they are automatically entitled to travel assistance?

No, there is eligibility criteria in which your child will be assessed against.

How are travel distances calculated?

They are calculated using an in house transport module. It is based on the safest walking route.

What are the safe eligible walking distances?

For children (at the time of application) aged 7 and below it is 2 miles. For children aged 8 and above it is 3 miles. E.g. Year groups 0-3 is 2 miles, years 4+ is 3 miles.

What if my child has SEN but lives within the safe walking distance?

Your child's application will be assessed under all of the eligibility criteria, not just mileage. We will look at their level of SEN or anything that may fall under 'exceptional circumstances'. We use all available evidence including your application, professional advice and the EHCP.

What if my child cannot access a safe walking route to school?

If there is no safe walking route we will provide travel assistance as this is classed as an exceptional circumstance.

From what age is it reasonable to expect my child to walk to and from school unaccompanied by an adult?

It will depend on the age & aptitude of the individual child – each assessment is on an individual case.

What constitutes low-income eligibility for Post 16 charges?

We have a list of qualifying benefits available on the Post 16 application form and in our Post 16 Policy.

What if my child attends a specific school on the grounds of religion or belief?

The DfE guidance states that we should provide travel assistance to pupils aged 11-16 who attend a school on the grounds of religion or belief providing it's between 2 and 15 miles from their home address.

What is the definition of a suitable school?

This means it is the nearest appropriate school that can meet your child's needs, with available spaces.

What if I decide that I want my child to attend a school which is not their nearest suitable school?

This would be classed as a parental preference school and therefore we do not have a duty to provide travel assistance. It would be the parent/carer's responsibility.

What if I can’t get my child to school due to work commitments?

Coventry LA does not take parent/carers work or care commitments into consideration when assessing the application – this is not classed as an exceptional circumstance.

I have to go to work and therefore cannot accompany my child to school. Does this class as an exceptional circumstance?

No, parent/s working commitments do not class as an exceptional circumstance.

I have to take other children to school does this constitute as an exceptional circumstance?

Only if it is completely unreasonable to expect the family to be able to get them all to their schools, on time.

Can I choose the form of travel assistance that my child receives?

You can select a preferred option but it is up to the LA to decide what form of travel assistance we will offer. We will always offer a mode of assistance which is suitable to your child's needs.

My child has been referred for Independent Travel Training – what is this?

ITT is where a travel trainer will make the journey to and from school with your child using public transport until they feel they are able to complete the journey independently. This can take weeks or months. The trainer will only ‘sign them off’ if they are fully competent in doing the route alone. Please contact our ITT team for more information.

What is a reasonable time for my child to be on school transport?

The guidance from the DfE states that the maximum time for a primary-aged child is 45 minutes and for a secondary-aged child is 75 minutes, these journeys should be shortened where possible but sometimes this is not feasible.

Who provides the school transport in Coventry?

We have some schools which use our in house school buses via our Travel Bureau however some schools use contractors which can change each year.

What is a Personal Transport Budget?

A PTB is a form of travel assistance we may offer – it is an allowance we pay the parent over 11 months of the year to transport their child to and from school themselves.

How much is the rate for personal transport budgets?

45p per mile in city, 25p per mile for out-of-city schools. We pay for two return journeys each day your child attends school.

Will my child have an escort on school transport?

When accessing transport for the first time, your child will need to be risk assessed. This will deem whether or not your child requires an escort.

I submitted my application yesterday when will receive a decision?

We have 3 weeks to make a decision and arrange travel (where agreed) from the date we receive your application. However, when we receive the applications between April and June for the coming academic year, all decisions will be given in July/August.

If travel assistance has been agreed how long will it take to implement?

For home-to-school travel, our Travel Bureau require a minimum of 3 working days to put arrangements in place. For a PTB, only once we receive your signed contract and bank details we can process payments through our Accounts team ready for their next payment run.

My child does not have an EHCP but has broken his leg, is he eligible for transport?

We do provide some travel assistance for medical exceptions. We would advise you to apply on the relevant form and attach a Consultants' letter detailing the proposed timescale that your child will be in a cast/unable to travel to school for. Once we receive the application we will consider it in line with our Policy.

If I am post 16 what constitutes as a suitable further education provider/course?

You will be required to demonstrate how your chosen study programme meets the majority of your needs and offers academic progression towards your career goals.  Support will be provided only to the nearest available school or college, where a suitable study programme is available.

If I am post 16 will I receive travel assistance free of charge?

If travel assistance is agreed, our Post 16 Policy now requests a contribution towards each pupil's travel assistance. This is £600 per academic year or £300 if you can evidence you are from a low income household. The only students who are exempt from this are those who are 'Looked After' to Social Services.

I am post 16 and in receipt of higher rate mobility will I receive travel assistance?

We assess each application on an individual basis. The eligibility criteria is detailed in our Post 16 Policy and eligibility isn't means tested.

I am post 16, how is low household income defined?

If you live with your parents they will need to evidence this. If you receive benefits in your own right, you will need to evidence this. There is a list of qualifying benefits detailed on the Post 16 application form and in our Post 16 Policy.

What happens to students when they reach age 19?

Coventry City Council has no legal duty to offer travel assistance to Post 19 students. However, if you are aged between 19 & 25 and you wish to apply for travel assistance to your education provider (and you have a current EHCP), you will need to complete a Post 19 travel request template (available online in our downloadable documents, or call us on 024 7683 1614 to request a paper copy).

I am a young person and aged 25 (or over) how do I apply for Travel Assistance:

You will need to contact the All Age Disability Team to enquire about Travel Assistance. Please call the Contact Centre on 024 7683 3333 and ask to be put through to the All Age Disability Team.

Where do I get a bus pass from?

If your child successfully completes independent travel training, a bus pass will be provided to you by Coventry LA. If you need to source your own bus pass we would advise you to contact West Midlands Travel or National Express. Alternatively, enquire at Pool Meadow bus station in the City Centre.

My child/young person has been refused travel assistance what can I do?

Your refusal letter will detail your right to appeal and the timeframe involved.

Who do I contact if my transport has not arrived?

For day-to-day queries like this, you would need to contact our Travel Bureau on 02476 975 466. Please also use this number for any questions you may have regarding drivers and escorts.

Apply for travel assistance

How to apply

Apply for travel assistance for this academic year [https://myaccount.coventry.gov.uk/en/service/Apply_for_travel_assistance]

Apply for travel assistance from September 2024 [https://myaccount.coventry.gov.uk/service/Apply_for_travel_assistance___1_March_2024_onwards]

Please ensure you click 'Submit' and get a reference number when you complete the form, otherwise we may not have received your application. 

If you require a paper copy or a large print version please contact Statutory Assessment and Review Service on 024 7683 1614 or email Access@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:Access@coventry.gov.uk]

Travel assistance for Post-16 students

We want all young people to have the same access to opportunities in life: to travel, to gain employment, have friends and relationships, to live as independently as possible, to have a good social life and to be valued in their community.

Learning to travel on public transport is an essential skill. We actively promote independent travel so that all young people can access their community, training and learning opportunities as well as social and leisure activities.

Applicants with severe mobility or learning difficulties may apply for discretionary travel assistance by filling in the Request for Travel Assistance Post-16 form. Criteria for determining eligibility are as follows:

The student must meet all the below criteria to be considered.

  1. Live permanently in Coventry
  2. Attend a full-time, suitable course at a suitable school, further education college of institution or 16-19 academy
  3. Be aged 16-18 at the time of application, or have started the course before their 19th birthday
  4. Be unable to travel to their course independently and exhausted alternative options available to them

Download and print our post 19 Travel request form. [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/5136/post_19_travel_request]


If you are unhappy with the outcome to your request for assistance you have the right of appeal against the decision. First, your request will be reviewed by a senior officer. If you are still not happy your request will be considered by an independent panel who were not involved in the original decision.

Once Travel Assistance has been agreed you cannot appeal the type of Travel Assistance offered.

Appeal forms must be returned to Access@coventry.gov.uk [mailto:Access@coventry.gov.uk]. For more information, call 024 7683 1614.

Stage 1 Appeal, Step 1

An appeal must be submitted using our Stage 1 appeal form. [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/5134/stage_1_appeal_template] within 20 working days of the date of the letter refusing travel assistance.

Stage 1 Appeal, Step 2

A Decision will be made by a Senior Officer. A decision letter will be sent to you within 20 working days of receipt of the appeal. The appeal will be Overturned or Upheld.

Stage 1 Appeal, Decision Upheld

You will be notified in writing that the original decision remains in place. Further supporting evidence may be requested.

Stage 1 Appeal, Decision Overturned

You will be notified in writing that based on the appeal / supporting information that Travel Assistance has been agreed. Travel Assistance to be set up within 3 weeks.

Stage 2 Final Appeal

Final appeals must be submitted within 20 working days from the date of the Stage 1 decision letter using Stage 2 appeal form. [http://www.coventry.gov.uk/downloads/download/5135/stage_2_appeal_template]

For Stage 2 appeal you must provide reasons challenging the Stage 1 decision and should include supporting evidence.

You can make both written and verbal representations which will be heard by an independent appeal panel within 40 working days of your stage 2 appeal.

Stage 2 Final Appeal, Decision Upheld

You will be notified in writing that the original decision still remains in place.

Letter will include details on how to escalate the case to Local Government Ombudsman

Stage 2 Final Appeal, Decision Overturned

You will be notified in writing that Travel Assistance has been agreed.

Travel Assistance to be set up within 3 weeks.