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Glasgow City Council

Free School Transport for Catchment School


There is an obligation on local authorities to provide transport for children and young people who are entitled to transport, from their registered home address to school and the return journey, no transport is provided to take a child home at lunchtime.  Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) arrange transport for primary and secondary children on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

Please note the following:

  • Where a child is not entitled to transport it is the responsibility of the parent to make the necessary arrangements for their child to attend school. 
  • Pupils who are only in school in the mornings from August to September should be collected by their parents.
  • If your child attends school as the result of a successful placing request free home to school transport is unlikely to be available
  • It should be noted that if your child moves to a school in a different denominational sector a placing request is required and free home to school transport is unlikely to be available
  • Please note that Primary School children, who meet the criteria for free school transport, will no longer be issued with a bus pass to travel on service buses.  From August 2016 those children qualifying will be transported by taxi or dedicated bus from your home address or a central pick up point to school.  This is part of a continual review towards improving Council Services
  • No transport or assistance with transport is provided for those pupils under the statutory school leaving age in attendance at further education college
  • A child attending a nursery will not normally be provided with school transport except in circumstances where a child with additional support needs will benefit from attendance.   This is not a statutory provision and each case will be addressed individually.

School Transport can mean:

  • Bus passes which children use on local bus services
  • Rail passes which children use on local train services
  • Underground passes
  • Dedicated school bus (service solely for pupils)
  • Taxis or private hire cars
  • The council's own transport

Our policy on providing free school transport is slightly more generous than the law requires.

Criteria for transport 

Glasgow City Council provide transport for children and young people who live more than 1.2 miles or more from their local catchment primary school by the shortest suitable walking route and 2.2 miles from their local catchment secondary school by the shortest suitable walking route.  

The distance will be established by measuring the distance from home (footway outside the house) using the council's Geographical Information System.  The walking distance is measured from the house gate or pavement heel and then by the shortest suitable walking route to the nearest school gate.  Some children and young people will require to walk a reasonable distance from their home address to the transport pick up point but this will not exceed 1.2 miles for primary schools and 2.2 miles for secondary schools.

Primary and secondary school pupils may also be entitled to transport for the following reasons:

  • They have a medical condition and their GP or hospital consultant has recommended transport.  Please note you must provide supporting documentation from your GP or hospital consultant
  • The family are experiencing exceptional circumstances, e.g. family have been made homeless.  Please note you must provide supporting documentation from an appropriate agency e.g. social work services, health visitor etc.
  • There is no suitable walking route between the child's home address and their local catchment school.   Please note that the authority will make a decision after checking with Land and Environmental Services Roads Section
  • The child has been placed in a school nominated by Glasgow City Council for example, as a result of their local catchment school being full.   When this happens transport will be provided in line with the distance criteria.   
  • If spare seats exist on a dedicated school transport vehicle, transport may be granted on a privilege seat basis as long as there is no additional cost to the authority.    Privilege seats are awarded on an annual basis so parent/carers need to reapply each year.   Decisions on privilege seats will be made by the end of September each year once the number of seats available have been determined, if any.  Where there are more requests for a privilege seat than the number of seats available a ballot will be held in order to allocate spaces.

Glasgow City Council reserve the right to withdraw transport if the seat is required by a child/young person travelling to his/her zoned school and are entitled to free school transport or if the contractor reduces the size of the vehicle. If this happens you will be given 5 days' notice to allow you to make alternative arrangements.

When should I apply?

You should apply for transport:

  • When you register your child for primary school in November - if successful transport will be granted from P1 to P7.
  • In February before your child transfers to secondary school in August - if successful transport will be granted from S1-S6.   
  • If you move house or change school
  • From June onwards if you wish to apply for a privilege seat

This allows time for the authority to liaise with SPT to tender and plan transport for the August term.

If your application is received by the 28 March you will be notified of the outcome by 30 May. Applications received after 28 March will be dealt with in due course.

How do I apply?

Apply online using our Free School Transport Application Form

myaccount gives you the ability to set up an online account using a single user name and password to access a range of online public services including some Glasgow City Council services. Read more about myaccount.

Applications are also available by contacting the Corporate Integrated Transport Unit on 0141 287 1056.

What happens once my application is received?

If you apply online you will receive an email to confirm the details you have submitted. 

Consideration will be given to the application and whether this meets the above criteria as outlined.  A letter is then sent to parent/carer to confirm the decision.

If you apply before 28 March each year you will be notified of the outcome by 30 May each year.

Transport for children with Additional Support Needs (ASL)

We may provide supported transport arrangements for children and young people who have been assessed as requiring it because of additional support needs.

We place a strong emphasis on including pupils with additional support needs within their local schools and communities and the transport policy reflects that commitment.

The distance criteria applies to all children however, some children who live within the distance criteria may be considered for free school transport depending on their additional support needs as detailed below.

  • the child has a physical or sensory impairment or a severe, profound or multiple learning difficulty which requires specialist transport arrangements for supervision
  • the child has a disability which prevents them from accessing the transport generally available to take other children from that area to school
  • the child attends a specialist provision or establishment as agreed by the City Inclusion Group.
    (Please note: the distance criteria also applies to children attending specialist provision, but transport may be provided on the basis of need)
  • parents/carers are unable to transport their child to school

Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT) arranges transport for mainstream primary and secondary schools on behalf of the authority. The authority makes its own arrangements for children with additional support needs.

Code of Conduct for pupils

The head teacher will establish with parent/carers and pupils the importance of good behaviour on school transport. Where necessary, examples of unacceptable behaviour will be emphasised to pupils.

The responsibility of ensuring safe and acceptable behaviour remains with parent/carers of a child travelling on a school transport vehicle. Misbehaviour or action which could put the safety of others at risk may result in the removal of the provision of transport by the authority.  This may be temporary or permanent.

In circumstances where a pupil's behaviour is unacceptable, the driver may retain the pupil's ticket/pass for identification purposes. Initially SPT along with Education Services will carry out an investigation, if appropriate.  The head teacher will invite the parent/carer and the pupil to a meeting and ask the pupil and parent/carer to respond to the report of the incident.

The head teacher will ask for an assurance of the pupil's good conduct prior to the resumption of previous travel arrangements. It is important that the school keeps a record of any such incident and details the responsive action taken.  During the interim, alternative arrangements, where necessary involving parents, will require to be made in order that the pupil attends school.

In cases of serious misbehaviour, the head teacher can still exercise his or her right to have regard to the discipline policy of the establishment and Education Services.

Request to review a council decision not to grant transport 

The Council, in discharging its statutory requirements, aims to assist parent/carers in their responsibility of ensuring that a child attends school safety and on time in line with our policy on the provision of school transport. The Council will also strive to ensure with the services of Strathclyde Passenger for Transport (SPT) and Land and Environmental Services, are the most effective, suitable and economical use of resources by closely monitoring contracts and routes.

A request to review the decision made regarding your child's transport must be made in writing within 10 days of receipt of the refusal letter. This should be made to the Corporate Integrated Transport Unit (CITU) based at 220 High Street, Glasgow G4 0QW.  Written submission should include any additional evidence to support your request for transport.  Reviews which lack specification will be rejected.

Written notification of the outcome of the review will be provided within 28 working days of receipt of the written submission.

Parental concerns 

We also aim to be responsive to the concerns of parents and carers in the provision of appropriate transport to meet the needs of each pupil. We keep our arrangements for school transport under continuous review.

Parent/carers who have concerns or complaints about any aspect of the provision of mainstream school transport may contact their child's school by telephone giving the details which will then be recorded and submitted to SPT's complaints form.

It is important for parent/carers to have the opportunity to ask questions about eligibility of their child for school transport therefore if you have any enquiries about applying for free school transport please contact the Corporate Integrated Transport Unit on 0141 287 1056.

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