Home to school transport

The Education Authority has a statutory responsibility for the provision of transport assistance to facilitate attendance at a grant-aided school of pupils for whom fees are not paid and who are resident in Northern Ireland. This guide aims to help you navigate the transport application process.

My Personal Circumstances ... The What If’s?

What if I am on a low income?

In relation to the issue of financial hardship which may result from having to pay transport costs, the Transport Circular dictates that distance is the sole criteria that the Authority can use for determining eligibility for transport.  Unfortunately eligibility for transport assistance is not means tested.

What if I am a working parent & the transport offered is not suitable?

It is not possible or reasonable for the Authority to take cognisance of individual parent’s circumstances, or other commitments. In such cases an assessment of individual family need would be neither practical nor economically viable for the Authority to sustain.  

However, in some cases where there is no additional cost to the Authority it may be possible the Authority will consider individual request.  You should contact your Local Transport Office for advice.

What if I have a medical condition?

While the Authority understands the impact that a Parent’s medical condition may have on facilitating a child’s attendance to school, the Transport Circular dictates that consideration can only be given to a medical condition held by the child and not the Parent.

What if there are other siblings getting transport assistance?

When applying for Transport Assistance it is important, for operational purposes, that you advise us if there are other siblings already in receipt of transport assistance.  This is so the Authority can ensure that siblings are awarded the same mode of transport and where appropriate travel on the same vehicle.

What if we have been forced to relocate?

Refer to the Exceptional Circumstances Section. 

What if I have shared custody of my child?

The Education Authority is required to provide transport assistance for pupils in accordance with the terms of the Department of Education Circular 1996/41, which has been effective since 1997 (updated Sept 2009).  Transport assistance can only be awarded from the residence of the legal guardian of the pupil.  Where custody is shared equally throughout the week, parents should determine which address the application is made from.

If your arrangement has been dictated by way of a Court Residency Order, a copy of this Order should be submitted to the Authority for consideration. 

What if I have a ‘looked after’ child?

A child is ‘looked after’ if they are in the care of the local authority for more than 24 hours.  Legally, this could be when they are: living in accommodation provided by the local authority with the parents’ agreement or be the subject of an interim or full care order.

It is the responsibility of Social Services to make contact with the Transport Division regarding a ‘looked after’ child.

While the Authority has a statutory duty to provide transport assistance for eligible pupils, this consideration is from the permanent home address to the school only. 

Each case will be assessed on an individual basis.

What if my child gets expelled from school?

What if my child has a medical condition?

Parents of eligible children must submit documentation from the child’s Consultant which will be forwarded to the Education Authority’s designated Clinical Medical Officer.

Assistance with transport will only be provided following a recommendation from the Clinical Medical Officer.

Transport will be provided in the most cost effective manner to the nearest suitable school.

Pupils who require transport on medical grounds to a school which is over the statutory walking distance (i.e. 2 or 3 miles) and there is a suitable school located within the statutory walking distance of the permanent home address will not qualify for transport assistance unless they have followed the correct transfer procedures.

My child has a broken limb, will they get transport?

A pupil who is attending their nearest suitable school, or is already in receipt of transport assistance and will qualify for additional short term transport support (maximum 6 weeks) in the event of a broken limb. 

Written confirmation from an A&E Consultant/Fracture Clinic Consultant and/or your GP should forwarded to your Local Transport Office.

It is a parental responsibility for payment of travelling expenses for a pupil who required Transport from school to attend a medical appointment.

What if I am a school age mother?

The aim of the ‘School Age Mothers (SAM) Programme is to support young women of school age, who are pregnant or parenting, to continue in compulsory education and beyond if this is appropriate.

Do you know that your choice and order of preferences could impact on your child’s eligibility for transport assistance?

Last updated: 31/05/2019