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School transport

Photo: Some deaf children may be entitled to help with school transport

Some deaf children in Scotland will be entitled to free home-to-school transport from their local authority (LA).

LAs offer help with home-to-school transport in a number of ways, for example:

  • providing dedicated, free, home-to-school transport for some or all of the journey
  • paying some or all costs for travel on public transport or in taxis.

LAs must provide transport, or help with the cost of transport, if they consider it necessary to help children get to school.

This applies to:

  • children who can’t walk to school for medical reasons or because they have a disability
  • children under eight years old who live more than two miles from their designated school
  • children aged eight and over who live more than three miles from their designated school.

These distances are measured by the nearest available route, taking into account issues such as safety. Some LAs may provide help with transport for lesser distances.

A designated school usually means the child’s local school or the school where the LA has given a place, for example a special school.

Help with school transport is not dependent on your household income.

If you choose a school managed by another LA, you should discuss transport with the school before making a placing request, as your child won’t be entitled to free transport. The LA may provide transport at its discretion. 

If your child has additional support needs and you make a placing request in an independent special school or grant-aided special school outside your LA, your child should be entitled to free transport. However, you should check this with the LA if you plan to request such a placing.

Children with special transport needs will normally be individually assessed so that transport is designed for their personal needs. This may include door-to-door transport, special car seats, transport in a wheelchair-equipped minibus or the provision of an escort.

If you’re concerned about your child’s transport arrangements you should discuss the problem with the head teacher at your child’s school.

Each LA will have its own home-to-school transport policy giving details of local arrangements. You can contact your local authority and ask for a copy of their policy – if it isn’t on their website.

Enquire is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning. It produces a factsheet on school transport.

If your child goes to school by taxi or with a pupil escort, we have created videos with BSL signs to help the driver or escort communicate with your child. With thanks to Frank Barnes, Hamilton Lodge and RSD Derby for their support. 

Spectrum offers an online course in Safeguarding and Awareness for Home to School Transport Teams which includes a section on deaf awareness for drivers and escorts.