Travelling to school

2. Eligibility for a free school travel pass

We've taken the difficult decision to remove the non-statutory faith element of free school travel eligibility with effect from September 2020. This decision has been taken in response to the financial pressures we're facing and to protect the continued provision of vital statutory services. Therefore unless eligible, as defined within our policy, we will not provide a bus pass for pupils attending denominational schools.

Our Free School Transport Policy (PDF 280kb) outlines the full eligibility criteria.

The following summarises our new eligibility criteria:

Group 1

Pupils whose nearest qualifying school is outside ‘walking distance’. ‘Walking distance’ is more than:

  • 2 miles for children under the age of 8
  • 3 miles for children aged 8 to 16

Group 2

Pupils from low income families travelling to:

  • one of the nearest 3 qualifying schools where they live more than 2 miles but less than 6 miles from that school
  • the nearest school preferred by reason of a parent’s faith or belief, where the school is more than 2 miles but less than 15 miles from the child’s home

Group 3

Pupils who move into Stockport from another area, are in years 10 or 11, want to stay at their current school and will have to travel more than 3 miles to that school.


  • low income is defined as pupils who are eligible for free school meals or parents eligible for the any level of Working Tax Credit. Proof will be required
  • the distance between home and school is measured by the shortest available walking route
  • the law defines a qualifying school as a school with places available that provides education appropriate to the age, ability and aptitude of the child
  • when a dispute occurs between a parent / guardian and the council, the distance between home and school is measured by one of our officers using the urban path network from our Geographical Information System (GIS)