Transport: school / further education


Under 5’s school transport

An excellent 2019 report[1] from the ombudsman sets out the law and the requirements of the relevant statutory guidance concerning the legal obligations on a council to provide transport for a disabled child below statutory school age.

In the case considered by the ombudsman, the council had misunderstood the law, misunderstood the facts and misunderstood the minimum requirements for a lawful appeals process.  Although by the time the ombudsman prepared his report, the council had adopted a revised policy – this policy was almost certainly unlawful for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 and amounted to a ‘fettering’ of its discretion. 


School transport for children of statutory school age

An excellent Cerebra guide explains the legal duties on local authorities to provide free school transport for disabled children in England – to download a copy – click here.

For an equally excellent YouTube lecture on the law by Michelle Michaelson from IPSEA – click here.


Post 16 students and school transport

For a commentary on an ombudsman’s report which explains the law and policy for students over 16 years of age – click here.


Post 19 students and education related transport

The ombudsman has reviewed the law concerning the duty to transport young adults (post 19) to education / training in a 2019 report[2] which is discussed in a ‘post’ which can be accessed by clicking here.

In a 2020 report the ombudsman held it to be maladministration for a council to have a policy that stated: (a) this support would only be provided in exceptional circumstances; and (b) created a presumption that families would ‘provide transport in practically all cases’.[3]  A 2023 report[4] concerned a council’s unlawful policy of refusing ‘transport to college applications’ simply on the basis that the college was less than 3 miles from their homes.


School transport as a human right

The right to education (and the implicit right to necessary school / college transport) is protected by the Human Rights Act 1998: Article 2 of Protocol 1.  For discussion of a 2023 judgment where the nature and extent of this right was considered click here.