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School transport

Parent(s) and carer(s) are responsible for ensuring that their children attend school and to make any necessary transport arrangements, this includes accompanying their children on their journeys to and from school.

Transport arrangements during coronavirus outbreak

Further to the recent Government advice, schools are planned to fully re-open in September and we are arranging for transport provision to resume.

As far as possible, we would like to encourage children who can safely and appropriately cycle or walk, to do so. Many teachers report that pupils who walk or cycle to school are more alert and ready to learn than those who arrive by car. The Bedford and Kempston Cycling and Walking Map can be found here,Travel Bedford cycling maps which can help you plan the safest route. There are also individual or family cycle lessons available to help build your confidence while cycling, for more details please email sustainable.transport@bedford.gov.uk .

For children who use dedicated home to school transport, commissioned by Bedford Borough Council - operators will, in line with DfE guidance, not require the same social distancing measures that will be in place on public transport. This means that they will largely be running their normal scheduled service with additional protective measures in place, as agreed by Public Health. For further information please read the Parent/ Carer guide to transport during COVID-19

We are aware that some schools plan to change or stagger start and finish times; we have liaised with schools and, where possible, transport is being planned to support these arrangements. If your child’s transport route has been changed, you will be informed.

For pupils deemed eligible to free school transport under Bedford Borough Council transport policies; information regarding dedicated schools transport services will be sent out before the start of term.

For children who use the public bus network - social distancing is expected to still be in place and available capacity on public bus services will be reduced in line with the latest Department for Transport guidance. The Council has been liaising with local transport providers and schools/colleges to identify areas of concern and larger vehicles, designated school buses and / or additional resource will be implemented, where possible. Social distancing will not apply to vehicles that have been closed to members of the general public and are only transporting school students. All schools have been advised to encourage children who usually travel to school on public transport to consider cycling or walking as an alternative means of travel, where possible.

Please read the following guides of how we are providing school transport in line with the current public health guidelines during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

If you believe your child is eligible to transport, and you require additional information regarding entitlement to transport or bus services in September, please contact the relevant Transport Team listed below:

School Transport Entitlement Team: School.Transport@bedford.gov.uk 01234 276713

Mainstream School Transport Team: Mainstream.Transport@Bedford.gov.uk 01234 276528

SEND Transport Team: Client.Transport@Bedford.gov.uk 01234 276116

Please be advised that new applications for transport, will be processed within 15 working days.

In certain circumstances, we have a duty to provide free home to school transport.  We arrange school transport for children and young people in Bedford Borough who are eligible for transport in line with our transport policies. Please note that once a request for transport is approved, our Client Transport Team will try to ensure transport is arranged within 10 working days.

You will find further information on these pages about who is eligible for transport, our transport policies, how to apply and what other help might be available to you.

Mainstream pupils - without an education, health and care plan (EHCP)

This information applies to children and young people without an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Pre-statutory school age

  • Bedford Borough Council does not provide free home to school transport for pre-statutory school age children.
  • A child begins to be ‘statutory school age’ on the ‘prescribed day’ which either falls on or follows their fifth birthday. The prescribed days are currently 31st August, 31st December and 31st March.  This means transport can be provided for eligible children in the term following their fifth birthday.

If you are not sure if your child is statutory school age yet, please contact us and we can confirm.

Statutory school age - mainstream primary

  • Statutory school age children in year 0 (Reception) to year 3 can get free home to school transport if they attend their nearest school and live more than 2 miles away or the route is assessed as unsafe to walk.
  • Children in year 4 to year 6 can get free home to school transport if they attend their nearest school and live more than 3 miles away
  • Children from low income families in year 4 to year 6 can get free home to school transport if they attend their nearest school and live more than 2 miles away

Low income families are those who:

  • are entitled to free school meals (whether the family is claiming this or not)
  • are receiving the maximum rate of Working Tax Credit

Statutory school age - mainstream secondary

Children aged 11 to 16 (school years 7 to 11) can get free home to school transport if:

  • they attend their nearest qualifying school
  • they live more than 3 miles away or the route is assessed as unsafe to walk.

Children from low income families can get free home to school transport if:

  • they attend one of their 3 nearest qualifying schools
  • the school is between 2 and 6 miles from their home address

Children from low income families can also get free home to school transport if:

  • they are aged 11 to 16 attending their nearest qualifying school in accordance with their parent(s)/carer(s) religion or belief, provided it is more than two miles (by the shortest available walking route), but not more than fifteen miles (by motorised route) from their home.

Post statutory school age (Post 16)

Students can apply for travel assistance if they:

  • they live in Bedford Borough throughout the duration of the course
  • they are enrolled and attend a full-time course up to and including level 3 (This means courses up to and including A Level).
  • they are attending the nearest 6th form school to their home address, within Bedford Borough. Those establishments are; Bedford Academy, Kempston Challenger Academy, Wootton Upper School, Biddenham School, Sharnbrook School, Mark Rutherford School and St Thomas More RC School
  • the eligibility criteria outlined in the policy is met (Sections 1.3 and 1.4)

Policy Document - Bedford Borough Council 'Post Statutory School Age' Transport Policy (PDF)

Apply for school transport 

You can apply for school transport, cancel your school transport and change your address using the forms below. If you are not sure which form to complete, or would like a copy of any of these forms posted to you, please email school.transport@bedford.gov.uk

Apply for school transport