Transport Appeals

Information on our appeals process if your application for assistance has been rejected.

How can I appeal a decision?

If your child has been refused transport assistance and you want to appeal the decision you must have formally applied for transport assistance using our online application process before you can begin the Appeals process. Our eligibility checker is not a substitute for a formal application.

You can apply for transport assistance here

*During the appeals process you will be asked to provide your unique reference number provided at application stage.

There are 4 grounds of appeal below;

A. Road Safety

You can appeal an assessment of eligibility on the grounds that an element of your child’s journey should be excluded from the distance calculation due to an exceptional road safety hazard. Be advised that you must meet the eligibility criteria in order for your appeal to be considered i.e. your child must be attending their nearest suitable school. Transport assistance would only be awarded if the subsequent exclusion meant that the distance to your child’s school exceeds the statutory walking distance.

It is important to note that assessments:

  1. Are made on the basis that the child will be accompanied by an adult on the journey to and from school; including to and from the pickup point.
     
  2. Under Department of Education Transport Circular, parents can be expected to assist with the first 2 miles of their child’s journey to primary school and to accompany them to and from a pick-up/drop-off point. Department of Education Circular 1996/41 (Updated 2009) states “Boards/ESA have no obligation to provide door-to-door transport assistance. In practice, parents may be expected to contribute with assistance to their child of up to, but not exceeding, statutory walking distance. For example, when asked to assist their child to get a bus pick-up point.” Therefore, the EA will not normally consider appeals relating to this part of the journey.
     
  3. In accordance with the DE Circular 1996-41 the Authority “will not be expected to introduce new bus routes or services for individuals or small groups of pupils where the cost of such transport would result in unreasonable public expenditure”.
     
  4. Assessments are undertaken in line with Road Safety GB guidelines. Parents are encouraged to read this guidance prior to submitting an appeal, for example the absence of street lighting or a footpath does not automatically constitute an exceptional road safety hazard. 

Timeframe

Road Safety assessments can only be conducted during term time when schools are operational. The Authority will endeavour to provide a written update on the progress of your appeal within 20 working days. However, this timescale may not be feasible for Appeals submitted during school closures or during peak periods i.e. September/October and in this instance the Authority will provide an update as soon as practically possible.

If your Road Safety appeal is unsuccessful there is no further right of Appeal on these grounds to the Education Authority.

If you feel that the appeals procedure has not been administered correctly you can contact us through the comments/complaints process.

Until you receive formal notification from the Authority regarding the outcome of an appeal all transport arrangements for your child/children remain a parental responsibility.

B. Refused Admission

I was refused admission to my nearest suitable school

You can appeal on these grounds if:

  • You have evidence that you applied and been refused admittance to ALL your nearest suitable school(s) at transfer stage; or
  • You have moved house since you last applied for transport and been formally refused admission to your nearest suitable school. (Written evidence from each school outlining that you have applied for, and been refused admission, must be submitted with your appeal).

Details of all your nearest suitable schools are included in the email you received from the Authority at the time of application. These can also be found by inputting your details via the Eligibility Checker

Timeframe

The Authority will endeavour to provide a written update on the outcome of your appeal within 20 working days.

If your Refused Admission appeal is unsuccessful there is no further right of Appeal on these grounds to the Education Authority.

If you feel that the appeals procedure has not been administered correctly you can contact us through the comments/complaints process.

Until you receive formal notification from the Authority regarding the outcome of an appeal all transport arrangements for your child/children remain a parental responsibility.

C. Distance

The qualifying distance to primary schools is 2 miles and 3 miles for post primary schools.  

We use a GIS system to accurately measure distances. Appeals on these grounds if you made a formal application and our system determined that you live at least 1.9 miles from your nearest suitable primary school or 2.9 miles from your nearest suitable post primary school.

We do not accept measurements from other mapping systems e.g. Google Maps, Bing Maps, AA Route Finder or vehicle odometers. The Authority will only therefore recalculate distance on the basis that your home is plotted incorrectly on the map.

Timeframe

The Authority will endeavour to provide a written update on the outcome of your appeal within 20 working days.

If your Distance appeal is unsuccessful there is no further right of Appeal on these grounds to the Education Authority.

If you feel that the appeals procedure has not been administered correctly you can contact us through the comments/complaints process.

Until you receive formal notification from the Authority regarding the outcome of an appeal all transport arrangements for your child/children remain a parental responsibility.

D. Exceptional Circumstances

The requirements for the Education Authority to provide transport assistance are set out in the Department of Education’s Circular 1996/41 – School Transport

Paragraph 8 of the above Circular recognises that transport assistance can be provided in cases which it considers to be exceptional.  

It is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of those circumstances that are considered exceptional; however, grounds such as enforced relocation, severe mental health concerns or persistent/serious bullying by a fellow pupil who uses the same service would be considered. The domestic or working arrangements of a family cannot be considered.

When making an appeal parents must provide sufficient written evidence that demonstrates the exceptional nature of the case. Each appeal is considered upon its individual merits and the Education Authority reserves the right to request additional information and/or to conduct further investigations or inquiries.

Parents are encouraged to read this guidance prior to submitting an exceptional circumstances appeal, Appendix A- examples of possible exceptional circumstances.

Timeframes

The Exceptional Circumstances Panel convenes on a monthly basis to consider all applications and deliver a decision as quickly as possible.  Insufficient information at the time of submission will delay consideration of your appeal.

A written outcome will normally be sent to you within 10 working days of the Panel.

A copy of the full policy guidelines and appeal process can be located here.

Please note that if upheld the EA is not required to make special provision over and above existing transport policy where this would result in unreasonable expenditure of public funds.

If your Exceptional Circumstances appeal is unsuccessful there is no further right of Appeal on these grounds to the Education Authority.

If you feel that the appeals procedure has not been administered correctly you can contact us through the comments/complaints process.

Until you receive formal notification from the Authority regarding the outcome of an appeal all transport arrangements for your child/children remain a parental responsibility.

How can I make a complaint?

We  aim to provide the best possible service at all times, but we recognise that sometimes things can go wrong.  When this happens, we will do our best to put things right. 

You can make a comment or complaint in person, by telephone, in writing or online and the Transport Division will investigate the issue and aim to resolve this as quickly and effectively as possible.  Where this is not possible, the Education Authority’s Complaints Handling Procedure sets out the formal process for making a complaint.

Last updated: 06/01/2022