Travel assistance to school or college for post 16 students

When choosing a sixth form or college placement, you will need to think about getting to and from college before applying and accepting a place.

You and your parents or carers should explore what options are available to get you to and from college such as walking, cycling, car share or public transport.

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Travel assistance when 16+

In 2015, the Government increased the age at which young people must continue in education or training to 18.  Although you must now remain in education or training until you are 18, the age range of free transport available to eligible young people has not increased in line with this.  There is no legal obligation on the council to provide free school or college travel assistance to you if you are at sixth form age, since the legal requirements only apply to children of statutory school age 5-16.

Sixth form age means you are over statutory school age, which ends on the last Friday in June in the academic year when you turn 16 but are under the age of 19.  If you began studying the course at school or college before your 19th birthday, you remain of sixth form age until you complete that course.

If you previously had school transport, you will need to know that entitlement to travel assistance is different now that you are 16 (sixth form age) and is no longer free.  Free transport is still only available to eligible children up to age 16.

If however you have an education health and care plan (EHCP) or a learning difficulty/disability, the council may offer some students support with travel on a discretionary basis, depending on your needs.

Whilst the council does not have to provide free transport for 16-18 age group, it must publish each year a travel policy statement, setting out what travel arrangements are available to enable 16-18 year olds to participate in education or training. 

Travel assistance is available for you to attend your place of education which could be:

  • full-time education, such as school or college 
  • work-based learning, such as an apprenticeship 
  • part-time education or training if you are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours a week

If you qualify for travel assistance based on your needs, there will be a charge that you or your parents will need to contribute towards. Details of the costs for the current year are displayed in the policy statement.

If you continue in education, training and work-based learning between the ages of 19-25 and have an EHCP, you will not be expected to contribute towards the cost of any travel assistance provided by the council.

For information on how to apply for travel assistance refer to our article applying for travel assistance 

Travel assistance options 

The travel assistance options available to all students aged 16-19 in learning or training fall under the follow categories:    

Concessionary travel scheme: If you are attending a South Gloucestershire school you may be able to purchase a concessionary place at a subsidised rate on existing contracted transport if there are spare seats available.  If you are entitled to free school meals you will be eligible for a concessionary seat free of charge, provided that a seat is available.

Discounted bus tickets: Students may purchase discounted travel tickets from First Bus or from SGS college, City of Bristol college or St Brendan’s sixth form college.   

Railcard: Students may apply for a 16-25 Student Railcard.  Further information is available on the 16-25 Railcard website.

There is further information on the concessionary travel application process and school concessionary travel on the 'Help with transport to and from school' page.

Independent Travel Training

The council’s travel training team has proven benefits in helping young people to get equal access to education, employment, healthcare, social and leisure activities, without transport being a barrier.

South Gloucestershire Council’s policy is intended actively to encourage young people to travel as independently and inclusively as possible and to develop confidence in travel skills.  Access to this training is by referral from schools, colleges or the council’s 0-25 team.

You can contact the Travel Training Service directly by email .

More information on independent travel training

Support with finance

You may be able to get a bursary to help you with any education-related transport costs.

This bursary is for you if you are aged 16-19 and:

  • studying at a publicly funded school or college in England - not a university
  • on a training course
  • including unpaid work experience

You can find out more about the bursary fund at GOV.UK 16-19 bursary fund.  To find out if you are eligible for a bursary fund, speak to your education setting.