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Some children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities may require help to get to the school that is right for them. This may be because the school is too far away or because they are not able to get to the school safely by themselves.

Under the terms of the 1996 Education Act, the council is required to provide assistance with travel to what the act terms 'eligible children'.

In relation to special educational needs and disability, the Act defines an eligible child as one of statutory school age (between five and 16) who has a special educational need or disability which means that they cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their mobility problems or because of associated health and safety issues related to their special educational needs (SEN) or disability. However, in Sandwell, we will provide assistance with transport to children with SEND from the start of their Reception year in school.


The Education Act 1996 specifies that Local Authorities have a duty to make necessary arrangements for ‘eligible children’.

There are four categories of eligible children:

  • Children who attend schools beyond the statutory walking distance
  • Children with SEN, disabilities or mobility problems
  • Children whose route to school is unsafe
  • Children from low income families

In all cases an eligible child must be of statutory school age, there is not duty to provide transport for children under school age.

Statutory walking distance is classed as 2 miles for children under 8 years of age and 3 miles for children over the age of 8. However, the legislation requires the Local Authority to arrange free school transport for some groups of children who attend schools within statutory walking distances including those with SEN, disability and mobility needs which mean that they cannot be expected to walk to school and no suitable arrangements have been made by the Local Authority to enable them to attend a nearer school.


Some useful links on transport can be found at the local offer here: 

Independent Travel Training: