Information for Children and Young People who are entitled to receive help to get to their place of learning


What is a Personal Travel Budget ?

A Personal Travel Budget (PTB) is a sum of money paid to parents or carers of children and young people with special educational needs and / or a disability who qualify for free school transport. Your council will, for example, offer a PTB as an alternative to a taxi or minibus if the PTB works out more cost effective.

A PTB lets families decide how their child or young person gets to and from school or college. Parents, carers or guardians can make arrangements which suit their child’s needs.

Your parent / carer / guardian will get paid a sum of money each month and this payment will not impact any other benefits you get.

If you are aged 19 - 25 and entitled to a PTB, it will be usually paid directly to you.


What The Law Says

The council has a legal duty to provide suitable travel arrangements for eligible children and young people when travel is not otherwise available.

This duty applies to eligible children of statutory school age, normally meaning age 5 to 16, but this may be extended to 25 under special circumstances.

Eligible children and young people are those who meet any one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Unable to travel any distance to school, even if accompanied, because of their special educational need (SEN) or disability
  2. Live more than the statutory walking distance from home to school.
    • Statutory walking distance is 2 miles for children aged 5 – 7
    • Statutory walking distance is 3 miles for children aged 8 – 16
    • The distance is calculated using a safe walking route
  3. Live within walking distance but, because of the nature of the route, cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school (for example it’s not safe)
    • Their parents are receiving the maximum Working Tax Credit or are eligible for or claiming free school meals (based upon income)

    Important things to consider:

    • Travel arrangements provided under this duty must be provided free of charge.
    • The duty applies to children who attend their nearest appropriate school.
    • Parents’ income does not play a part in decisions about eligibility for travel assistance, except as stated in point 4 above.

    Parents receiving the higher rate of the Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance and who are therefore entitled to a car for their child’s use under the Motability Scheme will be considered under the same eligibility criteria and will normally be offered travel assistance in the form of payment per mile they have to travel.

    How can I use a PTB?

    You could use a PTB to:

    • Buy a travel pass for public transport for you and your parent / carer / guardian / buddy
    • Pay someone to walk or cycle to school with you
    • Be driven to school or college by your parent/carer/guardian or someone chosen by yourself and your carers
    • Arrange shared travel, such as car or taxi sharing with another family
    • Overcome other barriers that may prevent you getting to school, for example your parents may need to get to work before your transport arrives
    • Pay a travel buddy to help you to use public transport

    How can I get a PTB?

    If you qualify for free school transport, your school or college will send a message to the relevant person in the council.  The council will then contact your parent, carer or guardian (if you are under 18) to discuss your transport needs. If a PTB is agreed, your carer / parent / guardian will be sent an agreement to sign. Each year you will have a review. If you still qualify, you will be given another year’s PTB.

    For further information, speak to your tutor / teacher / parent and ask to see a copy of your school or college’s Home To School Travel Assistance Policy.

    Councils may have slightly different policies about how far a child or young person must have to travel to school in order to be eligible for help, which may depend on their age and their parents’ or carers’ income. It’s best to check your local council’s Local Offer website (Here’s is Stoke-on-Trent’s for example:


    How long will I get a PTB for?

    You will get a PTB for the time that you are in the school or college stated in the application. The PTB agreement is renewed each year. It will only be withdrawn if:

    • you move home and you no longer qualify
    • the travel arrangements made for you are unsafe
    • you leave the school or college
    • your school / college attendance isn’t as regular as the school or council think it should be


    Created by Sue Thomas, Outreach Manager, as part of the Listen To My Voice project for Stoke-on-Trent City Council