Home To School Transport

NI Direct

Getting your child to and from school safely on time needs careful planning. Some children may be able to get help with home to school transport from the Education Authority (EA). Children with disabilities or special educational needs may also receive special help.

When a child can get school transport

The EA  must provide help with home to school transport where a child meets the requirements. Your child will be entitled to support if there is no suitable school within the legal walking distance or qualifying distance  of your home, or if they have been refused a place in all suitable schools within legal walking distance/ qualifying distance.

The legal walking distance/ qualifying distance is used to decide if the cost of home to school transport support should be met by the EA or the parent.

The legal walking distance/ qualifying distance from home to school is two miles for primary pupils and three miles for post-primary pupils and is measured by the shortest route along which a child, accompanied as necessary, can walk with reasonable safety. The route measured may include footpaths and other pathways, as well as roads.  

The legal walking distance/ qualifying distance does not mean that children must walk. It is the responsibility of parents who live within the legal walking distance to decide on the method that they think is most suitable to get their child to and from school.

A suitable school is defined only as one in the recognised categories of Controlled/Other Voluntary, Integrated, Irish-Medium, Catholic Maintained, Denominational or non-Denominational grammar.  

If your child is able to get help with home to school transport, the EA decides the type of transport or other support that is necessary.

How to apply for school transport

Parents can apply online for help with home to school transport. After parents have filled in the online application, they will receive an assessment that shows if their child/children are able to get help with home to school transport. 

To apply, go to:

If you need help with the online application, contact the EA’s School Transport Helpdesk.

Children with special needs or disabilities

The EA should take any disability or special educational needs into account when deciding whether school transport is necessary.  

If your child has a statement of special educational needs that includes transport requirements, the EA  must provide transport support in line with EA arrangements.

Help may still be available

Pupils who live within the legal walking distance/qualifying distance from their school, would not normally receive help with home to school transport. In exceptional circumstances they may be able to get help. 

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